Sussex Police and partners safeguarded dozens of people at a high risk of domestic abuse over the festive period.

Operation Hope sees dedicated activity in the weeks leading up to Christmas – a time when people can be at greater risk of domestic abuse – to protect the most vulnerable people and engage with repeat offenders.

During Operation Hope, wanted person Lee Higgs, 42, of no fixed address, was arrested and charged with common assault and criminal damage after a woman reported being assaulted at a property in Eastbourne on 9 December. He has been remanded in custody to appear for trial at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on 30 January.

A woman in Hastings was also given a Domestic Violence Protection Notice, which puts measures in place to reduce her ability to harm her female partner. An application has been submitted for a Domestic Violence Protection Order, which gives even greater powers.

Police and support agencies visited 48 addresses over around two weeks in December, resulting in positive engagement with 27 victims at high risk of domestic abuse.

They were offered discreet advice, reassurance and support, and given the opportunity to report any concerns in person.

This activity was in addition to the round-the-clock activity to protect people at risk of domestic abuse.

As a result of the visits, nine referrals were submitted for additional support from housing, social services and domestic abuse support services.

Three victims were given safeguarding equipment such as alarms and door braces, while a fourth will receive a new front door from housing services.

One victim who had previously felt unable to engage with support services changed their mind and is now receiving specialist support.

We were also able to offer support through Clare’s Law, which allows people in relationships to request if their partner has any criminal history that presents a risk of domestic violence. One person received a disclosure about their partner, while a second submitted a request for information.

The reason that domestic abuse takes place is perpetrators, and the responsibility rests with them.

This is why engaging with perpetrators, and holding them to account, is essential to bring about long-term behavioural change and secure justice for their victims.

Detective Inspector Martin Alchin-Gadd said: “For many people Christmas is a joyous time. Families spend more time together, celebrating and sharing food and drink.

“But for some, more time with family means more time with their abuser.

“I have been proud to be part of Op Hope this year, working with our partners to reduce the risk to those at the highest risk of domestic abuse this Christmas. Sussex Police remains committed to tackling domestic abuse at all times of year.

“If you are experiencing domestic abuse, or know that someone else is, please know that the help is out there – we are here for you. Please contact Sussex Police online or by calling 101. In an emergency, always dial 999.

“If you have concerns about a partner, then you have a Right to Ask if they have a history of abusing others by submitting a Clare’s Law application on the Sussex Police website”