Nightwing team to tackle Christmas spike in domestic abuse
A DEDICATED team of police officers is being launched to tackle a spike in domestic abuse over Christmas.
Operation Nightwing has been set up in Hull to ensure victims who call police are seen quickly.
Between 13 and 15 officers will be available to respond solely to calls regarding domestic abuse in the city during the operation.
Detective Sergeant Stuart Fox, who is leading the operation, said: "We know there is an increase in domestic abuse over Christmas and the new year.
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"This can be down to rising stress levels – perhaps relating to money worries – the alcohol that is consumed as people are celebrating, and the fact families are spending more time together.
"Traditionally, the number of calls we will receive increases but the staffing levels don't. This can mean victims, who are often vulnerable and have been brave to come forward, not receiving the level of service we would like them to have.
"Operation Nightwing has been set up to combat that and will involve dedicated patrols to respond to calls relating to domestic abuse."
The operation will run for seven weeks from this weekend, covering Christmas and the new year.
Officers working on the operation last year attended almost 50 calls – a 13 per cent rise on what police would expect at other times of the year.
Extra support workers from the Hull domestic abuse partnership will also be working during the festive period, to ensure victims are offered help as quickly as possible.
Abusers involved will also be encouraged to refer themselves to programmes such as Strength to Change, which works with men who are abusing their partners.
Det Sgt Fox said: "These patrols will be there to answer the calls quickly, start gathering evidence if there is going to be a complaint and make sure the victims and perpetrators are signposted to the right places for support.
"It is really important because domestic abuse doesn't just impact on the victim but can also have an impact if there are children in the home who are witnessing it.
"We also want to stop it before it escalates. We might get one call that may seem minor, or trivial, but you can never say what the next call is going to be.
"We want victims to speak up and have trust in us to deal with it effectively. We want to build confidence in the victims.
"Obviously, we are here to enforce the law but there are lots of support agencies out there to help.
"We also want perpetrators who recognise these issues in their relationship to seek help before we become involved.
"Once we are involved, we will be dealing with cases robustly and will be looking to take cases to court."