VICTIMS of violence in the home have been given a stark piece of advice by police over the New Year ... don't suffer in silence.
Police say they take such incidents extremely seriously and have urged victims to contact them if they are attacked.
The police's vulnerable victim co-ordinator, Sgt Jill Latham, said: "Sadly, the festive season can be a catalyst for problems in some homes. For others, it can be a temporary respite from abuse due to the presence of extended family members as protection.
"Domestic violence is a daily occurrence, not just a problem during holiday time."
The amount of domestic violence incidents being reported to the police shot up last year by almost 16%.
From September 2001 to August 2002 there were 32,707 cases reported in West Yorkshire, compared with 37,861 for the same period this year.
In Kirklees the figure shot up by almost 18% from 5,513 to 6,492 and in Calderdale it rose 8% from 3,016 to 3,256.
Sgt Latham believes this is due to victims having more confidence that the police will take action.
She said: "West Yorkshire Police does take domestic violence incidents very seriously and will take positive action against those who commit violence against particularly vulnerable victims.
"But this is only the tip of the iceberg. It is estimated nationally that only a quarter of incidents are reported to the police.
"The victims' safety and welfare are the police's first consideration.
"We will intervene to ensure that victims and dependants are not subject to repeat victimisation."
Stronger policing powers are due to come into force next year, championed by Home Secretary David Blunkett.
He describes the proposals as the biggest overhaul in domestic violence law for three decades.
Sgt Latham said: "The bill is aimed at giving police officers better powers to deal with domestic violence incidents.
"Any enhancements to police powers will provide officers with more options when attending and dealing with incidents."
Measures due to come into force next year include:
* The power to arrest anyone breaching a non-molestation order and anyone suspected of common assault.
* Courts could impose a restraining order even where the defendant has been acquitted if the alleged victim needs protection.
* A code of practice for all agencies, ensuring victims receive necessary support.
* Couples who do not live together and homosexual and lesbian couples will be given the same protection as heterosexual couples.
* A new charge of familial homicide will come into force for parents who have caused or allowed the death of a child.
Each week, two women are killed by their partner in the UK.
Domestic violence accounts for a quarter of all violent crime.