HUNTERpolice and a domestic violence support service arecalling on families to reach out for help if pressure caused by the festive season is reaching breaking point.
HELP AVAILABLE: Ann Fletcher from Port Stephens Family and Neighbourhood bagging up food distributed through its emergency relief program. Demand peaks at Christmas. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts
Senior Constable Lisa Holloway, a Port Stephens-based domestic violence liaison officer, said financial pressure and alcohol played an important role in the rise of domestic violence-related assaults during the hottest months of the year –December and January.
“This time of year is when people get themselves into debt which leads to arguments or some form of domestic violence,” Senior Constable Holloway said.
“Alcohol is an associated fact in many cases of domestic violence.”
In December 2014 there were 21 incidents of domestic violence-related assault in Port Stephens and 27 in January 2015, according to NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.
The figures are some of the lowest from the past 10 years.Assaults stemming from domestic violenceduring December and January range from the high 20s to the low 30s.
December 2012 and January 2013 had some of the highest reported incidents of domestic violence-related assaults since 2005.
There were 34 assaults in the December and 35 in January.
The numbers, while worrying, do not surprise Ann Fletcher from Port Stephens Family and Neighbourhood Services.
In the past sixmonths 245 people have been placed on a waiting list to receive counselling and support from the service.
Domestic Violence Line: 1800 656 463