I work in the Emerald team, investigating domestic abuse and sexual offences. This time of year, we’ll often see a spike in reporting that carries on through into January, as it’s sometimes a difficult season for individuals, or families, already living with domestic abuse. Incidences of sexual offences also see a increase at this time of year.
Coming into work on a Christmas Day is much like any other for us. There may be a mince pie with my cuppa on my desk, or tinsel decorating the office, but the work doesn’t stop or slow down just because it’s 25 December. It’s business as usual and a normal working day.
Attending someone else’s home in response to a call, and seeing a Christmas in ruins due to a crime or an incident is incredibly hard. Christmas seems to magnify certain issues within relationships and, combined with alcohol, this can escalate into situations that require immediate police intervention, or into those that only get reported once the holidays are over, but as police officers we do what we can to improve the situation for those that need it, when they need it.
We deal with a variety of incidents, including fights, arguments, criminal damage, sexual assault and rape, but one shout that will always stay with me is the time when I was a uniformed officer, and a daughter chose to disclose she’d been abused just as her mum was serving up the Christmas dinner. Any day of the year, we are on duty and we are ready to offer help.
I’m now a mum and, of course, I’d love to be with my family and see my own children open their presents on Christmas Day, but I know that the work we do helps victims and their families, and safeguarding the most vulnerable is our number one priority at any time of the year, especially if there are children present.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, or you have concerns for someone else, please contact us in confidence on 101, and remember, always call 999 in an emergency.
Alternatively call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
For advice about domestic abuse, we have information and details of partner agencies who can find the right help for you.
Victims of rape and sexual assault will be given care and guidance by us and our partner agencies, including the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), as well as support through the investigation process.
You can make a report to police on 101, or can contact Bedfordshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) the Emerald Centre, by visiting www.emeraldcentre.org, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01234 897052. Always call 999 in an emergency.