POLICE visited more than 70 high risk victims of domestic violence over Christmas to check they were safe.

The dedicated operation has been hailed a success and will be repeated during the FIFA World Cup this summer.

Domestic violence is known to rise during football-related events so specially-trained officers will be on alert during the World Cup in June and July.

For the festive campaign, known as Operation Maple, a total of 105 high-risk victims were identified in advance.

Officers managed to visit and speak to 73 of them and a further 29 were visited but were either not seen or did not reply. Three were not visited and no arrests were made.

Inspector Steve Thorpe said: “The majority of people we spoke to in person were supportive of what we were trying to achieve and were grateful for our visit. We also collected a good deal of information and received reports of further crimes.”

Insp Thorpe said reported cases of domestic abuse have risen in recent years and he believes the increase is due to victims being more willing to report crimes and to take action against offenders.

He urged victims to come forward and warned offenders they could face lengthy custodial sentences.

More information on the support services available in Dorset is available at dorsetforyou.com/dvahelp and organisations listed include outreach services, helplines and a refuge.