SPECIALLY-trained police officers have been visiting men and women vulnerable to domestic violence - as well as their abusers - over Christmas.

Dorset Police deals with almost 450 reports of domestic abuse every month. The number spikes during the festive season.

As a result of the figures, the force runs dedicated initiative Operation Maple to try and cut reports of incidents during December.

Detective Inspector Gavin House called for anyone suffering domestic abuse to come forward and speak to police or another agency.

“We want children and families throughout Dorset to be able to enjoy Christmas free from the fear of domestic abuse," he said.

“There is an average of 449 domestic abuse incidents a month across Dorset and reports of domestic abuse historically increased during the festive period.

“Throughout December 2017, officers will be conducting extra reassurance visits to high-risk victims to ensure they continue to be safe.

“Serial domestic abuse perpetrators and offenders with special conditions and court orders will also be subject to further scrutiny during this period of time.”

Det Insp House said the force "strongly encourages" anybody living through domestic abuse, or those who know someone suffering, to report it and seek help.

Dorset Police can offer support from officers trained to investigate domestic violence. The force also works in close partnership with other agencies.

To report a crime online, visit dorset.police.uk/do-it-online, or call 101. In an emergency, dial 999.

For more information on support services available throughout Dorset visit dorsetforyou.com/dvahelp

Numbers to call for those in need of help at any time of year:

National DV Helpline (24 hour)0808 2000247

National Men’s Advice Line (for male victims)0808 8010327

National Stalking Helpline: 0808 802 0300

Local support for victims:

Bournemouth 24 hour helpline01202 547755

Poole Outreach Service and 24 hour helpline01202 748488

You First (Dorset County Outreach)0800 0325204

Childline (for children)0800 1111

Respect Helpline (for perpetrators): 0845 122 8609