Cumbria Police have launched a new campaign aimed at tackling domestic abuse over the festive period.

Shocking national figures show three women per week are murdered by a current or former partner.

Recent analysis by academics, charities and victims’ groups also points to the further impact of these offences.

Figures suggest the number of women’s deaths linked to domestic abuse rises to 10 per week when suicide of people affected is also taken into account.

These national findings feed into Cumbria Constabulary’s overall approach to tackling these offences every day, the force said.

Due to a historical rise in domestic abuse offences as Christmas approaches, Cumbria Police are seeking to raise awareness of the importance of coming forward and seeking help if you are suffering abuse.

“Christmas time is a happy time of the year and it's not Christmas itself that causes the issues," said Detective Chief Inspector Vicki Coombes, Cumbria Police’s lead officer on domestic abuse.

"The extra pressure of financial abuse, excess alcohol, children, and all family being off work and in the house, together, for extended periods can all lead to an increase in reports of domestic abuse and occurrences of domestic abuse.

“Any domestic abuse is a problem. It happens far too often and a lot of it goes unreported.

“In Cumbria, the same as everywhere else, we do deal with domestic abuse situations on a daily basis and what we want to do is make sure that people know that there is help available out there so they can report to the police.

“Often people report to the police when they're in that moment of crisis, when they need help in the here and now and we keep people safe.”

The weeks covering the Christmas period tend to lead to an increase in reports of domestic abuse, when alcohol-fuelled nights out, the stresses of this time of year and inflamed emotions arise and combine.

Officers want people to know there is support available and they don’t have to suffer in silence - and those who commit abuse are also encouraged to face up to their responsibilities and seek help.

Additional street patrols will run over the festive period in Cumbria, with officers briefed on key factors to watch out for to prevent violence against women and girls.

Other extra measures during this busy period include having an independent support worker for victims of domestic abuse accompanying officers on patrol.

READ MORE: Praise for Cumbria's emergency services during major incident

“Nobody should ever have to suffer domestic abuse. If you’re scared at home, there is help out there,” said DCI Coombes.

“Tackling these awful crimes and safeguarding vulnerable people is a key priority for us.

“We take all reports seriously and we treat all cases with sensitivity.

“If you are suffering, please get in touch. We are here to help and support you.

“Even if right now you only have questions, I would urge you to contact us.”

Cumbria Victim Support: 0300 3030 157
If you have been the victim of domestic abuse, or are concerned for someone who is, you can report this by calling 101. 
Always dial 999 in an emergency.