AS the most romantic day of the year nears Worcestershire residents suffering domestic abuse and sexual violence are being urged to speak out.
For the majority of couples, Valentine’s Day is a happy occasion but according to the Worcestershire Forum Against Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence aggression in the home can escalate at such times of the year.
Martin Lakeman, strategic co-ordinator for the Forum, said: "Traditionally, domestic abuse is more prevalent during times of the year when occasions mark our annual calendar, such as Valentine’s Day.
"Many women and men continue to endure domestic abuse and sexual violence for the sake of keeping their relationship together at such times.
"We urge victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence not to suffer in silence but to call the county’s helpline where they will be dealt with sensitively and in confidence."
The call for people to speak out comes after an increase in the number of people contacting the charity over the past 12 months by 79 percent.
Mr Lakeman added: "Nationally, domestic abuse and sexual violence are crimes that are widely under-reported and Worcestershire is no exception.
"Domestic abuse and sexual violence are not inevitable parts of life, but many men, women and children are understandably worried about the possible consequences of speaking out. However, the support available can make their lives so much better."
Residents in Worcestershire can report abuse in confidence by contacting their local police station or in by calling 999. For free confidential information, support and advice they can phone the dedicated 24 hour helpline 0800 980 3331, visit worcestershiredomesticandsexualabuse.co.uk, or to speak with Martin Lakeman call 01905 822357.
If you want to join thousands of others in SAYING NO to domestic abuse and sexual violence, pledge your support at whiteribboncampaign.co.uk/worcestershire or visit worcesternews.co.uk/whiteribbon.