POLICE will be using dedicated patrols to respond to reports of domestic violence over Christmas and the New year.
Officers will be equipped with body-worn video cameras which will help them secure important evidence.
Last year, police in Sussex were called to 982 incidents of reported domestic abuse from 21 December 2012 to 2 January 2013, an increase from 643 the previous year. 219 were subsequently recorded as involving specific criminal offences.
Detective Inspector Stuart Hale from the force’s Protecting Vulnerable People Branch, said: “This is the fifth year running that we have operated extra force-wide patrols focusing on high risk victims of domestic abuse as we understand that the festive period can be a particularly difficult time for them.
“We have historically had peaks in the number of calls for help on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Victims can be assaulted or abused by their partners or other family members and many of the incidents the police have attended in the past have been extremely violent.
“The increase over this period is often down to higher alcohol consumption, combined with families spending more time than usual with each other. Relationships which are potentially abusive may come to a head at this time.
“Our response officers use body worn cameras to increase the chance of gaining quality evidence and therefore do not just rely on the victim’s word against their abuser.
“There is a lot of support available for victims of domestic abuse and we are encouraging family, friends and neighbours to support victims by reporting this type of abuse to police.
If you need help you can also contact the 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 - www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk.