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For many families, the festive period is a happy one that involves spending time with loved ones and enjoying Christmas cheer.

Unfortunately the bleak reality for some is that the period marks an increase in financial pressures against the backdrop of a surge in alcohol consumption which can place additional strain on already fragile relationships. The festive period is renowned for a drastic increase in reports of domestic violence and the PSNI recently launched their Christmas campaign encouraging victims to come forward and report incidents of domestic violence. The PSNI have released shocking statistics reporting that last year they received a report of domestic violence every 18 minutes and, on Christmas day alone, there were 96 reports of domestic incidents.

Domestic violence can take many forms. It’s not just about physical violence – it can also be sexual, emotional, or psychological abuse. No-one should be subjected to domestic abuse and it is very important that victims get the help they need to break this cycle. It isn’t just spouses who are affected as more often than not, children are witnesses to the abuse which can leave them severely traumatised.

Seeking advice when you have been subjected to domestic abuse can be a very difficult step. At Edwards & Co we recognise this problem and as a result are proud to have attained the Workplace Charter on Domestic Violence We are committed to responding sensitively and effectively to those needing help and support. By displaying the ‘Safe Place’ logo in our office, victims can be assured of a safe and secure environment where our Solicitors can assist by discussing your options with you confidentially and informing you of your potential choices.

Edwards & Company can offer advice on the types of Court Orders which can be sought to protect you from intimidation and harassment. The Courts have the power to exclude abusive partners from your home. At all times you and your children’s safety is considered paramount.

The Courts treat domestic violence as a very serious offence and strict conditions are placed on abusers. It is important if you are a victim of domestic violence that you seek advice immediately. The Family and Matrimonial department at Edwards and Company understand the sensitive nature of these incidents and can assist you quickly and confidentially in order to offer the support and advice you need. For more information and advice please contact Carla Fraser.