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Campaign targets spike in domestic abuse during Christmas

An additional police car will be working in the area this month, with the officers offering guidance and advice to people affected by domestic abuse

PC Reynolds (right) and PC East promoting their work to help victims of domestic abuse

Increased efforts are being made to support victims of domestic abuse in north-east Hampshire.

As part of a Speak Out Today campaign being run across the county by Hampshire Constabulary and the Police and Crime Commissioner, an additional police car has been assigned in the area to be used solely for visits related to domestic abuse throughout the Christmas period.

The move is aimed at dealing with a traditional rise in domestic abuse incidents at Christmas time, and will allow more time to be devoted to offering guidance and advice to those affected until the end of December.

Karen Evans, chairman of the North East Hampshire Domestic Abuse Forum, said: "Domestic abuse is happening all the time, but you tend to get more reports around Christmas.

"There are various factors such as the fact there is more alcohol and Christmas parties, and people getting jealous about who people are seeing.

"Of course, people also have more time together. There are days and days where it's just the family.

"Where you've got families who have separated, you've got the trauma and additional pressures about where the children are going to be."

Domestic abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or financial abuse that takes place within a relationship, and protection is available through criminal law and civil court orders.

The police car for domestic abuse visits contains information packs and advice leaflets that would not always be carried by officers on patrol. The leaflets are in various languages and also include advice for same-sex couples.

The specific focus of the officers also means that they will not be called to deal with other incidents.

"It means they can go as long as they need to," said Mrs Evans. "They are an additional resource. It just gives that extra bit of time.”

Mrs Evans also had praise for 18-year-old Eleanor Jarvis, from Upper Hale, who spoke to the News & Mail two weeks ago about the late-night attack she suffered by her then-boyfriend Kirk Alldritt in Manor Park, Aldershot.

Following months of relatively minor controlling behaviour, Alldritt pinned her down, spat in her face and bit off part of her ear on September 28. Alldritt, 26, of Sheeling Close, Aldershot, was last month jailed for five years and four months.

Mrs Evans said it was uncommon for victims to talk so openly about abuse they suffered but that Ms Jarvis was an inspiration to others.

"It's brave to speak out and say, 'it happened to me'," she said.

"A lot of people are made to feel it's their fault and want to keep it hidden, not that they should feel ashamed.

"I think her speaking is really helpful and quite empowering to other people. The more people who speak out and say 'you don't have to put up with it', the better."

Advice for those affected by domestic abuse is available on the North East Hampshire Domestic Abuse Forum website .



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