Each year both national and local domestic abuse charities, police forces and counsels run campaigns warning of the sadly predictable rise in instances of domestic abuse during the Christmas break.
News outlets report on fears of this increased occurrence before Christmas and then in the new year, report on the statistics reflecting the increased police callouts and surge in calls to domestica abuse charities on both Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve
Increased fear for victims
Victims often feel more isolated and frightened during this period, being forced to spend more time with their abusive partner and knowing that alcoholic overindulgence will affect their perpetrator’s self-control, anger and decision-making.
A Family Law survey found that 1 in 6 who took part said they were likely to suffer domestic abuse from their partner over the holidays and 4 in 10 were scared that the Christmas period would lead to the end of their marriage.
A third of people said that money was the primary cause of strain in their relationship, something likely to be exacerbated this year thanks to the cost-of-living crisis.
Increased risks for the young and old
It’s important to remember that there is no ‘typical’ victim of domestic abuse - both victims and perpetrators can be of any age, gender, class, religion or background.
A report by children’s charity the NSPCC estimates that 3.2% of those under 11 and 2.5% of those aged 11-17 are exposed to domestic abuse each year thereby implying that at least 15,000 children each year could be exposed to domestic abuse over the 2-week festive period.
And whilst loneliness if often a focus for the elderly at Christmas, national domestic abuse charity SafeLives has previously reported on this ‘hidden’ group of domestic abuse victims - older people facing unique difficulties and living in fear of those who are supposed to love and care for them.
Choices, not excuses
Offenders will often blame their behaviour on the increased stresses at Christmas – money worries, pressure to spend time with wider family; or worse, blame their victim for the abuse – the food wasn’t cooked right, the children were playing up, not enough effort was made to entertain family and friends... etc.
But Christmas is NO excuse. Christmas does not cause abuse, abusers cause abuse.
Domestic abuse happens because offenders CHOOSE to abuse.
Where to find help
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, you may feel you’re in a dark and frightening place that is impossible to escape - but just talking to someone can often be the first step towards accessing information and support.
Confidential help and advice is always available:
- The National Domestic Abuse Helpline - 0808 2000 247- is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
- The National Centre for Domestic Violence on 0800 270 9070 or text NCDV on 60777
- Women’s Aid
- ManKind- 01823 334244
- Men’s Line
- New Era
Specialise legal advice
We know that taking any action against your abuser can feel like a huge step but you can take your time.
It’s critical that you do get specialist legal advice in order to fully understand your options and explore whether you may be entitled to legal aid if you can’t afford to pay legal costs.
With Resolution-accredited specialists in Domestic Abuse, our Family Law team has extensive experience working with domestic abuse clients and legal aid.
Get in touch at any time for a confidential discussion on 01606 48777 – we offer a free initial consultation to all new Family Law clients*.
*subject to certain conditions.