VICTIMS of domestic violence are being urged to start the new year by seeking help.

The appeal comes after new figures show the level of domestic abuse increased by 80% over the New Year period.

Now sufferers are being called on to get help and put an end to the violence.

Peter Nelson, Yorkshire and Humber regional director of the Legal Services Commission (LSC), which was set up to help vulnerable people get legal justice, said: "This time of the year can take its toll on many of us.

"But for sufferers of domestic violence the effects of too much alcohol, arguments with families and the mounting bills can be devastating.

"People living with a violent partner may have tried to keep the family together during the Christmas period, often in an attempt to improve things for their children or show others that things are OK.

"However, the reality of living with domestic violence can often intensify during the festive period.

"And as the new year starts, many abused women and children will be desperate for advice to help them escape from the situation."

To help victims, the LSC has published a leaflet - Domestic Violence, Abuse and Harassment - outlining the legal rights for sufferers of domestic abuse.

It is available at local Citizen Advice Bureaux, libraries and solicitors' offices or on the internet at www.

People can also call the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247.