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More than the holiday blues: domestic abuse and children

View profile for Victoria Poole
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More than the holiday blues: domestic abuse & children

Although the summer holidays seem a dim and distant memory, at this time of year we often see an increase in domestic abuse that has been fuelled by money worries, excessive alcohol consumption and spending longer periods of time together – and by the very nature of children spending more time at home during the holidays, they are at much greater risk of experiencing or witnessing domestic abuse.

When children and parents spend more time together, those who are in abusive relationships are at increased risk of suffering domestic abuse. The BBC recently reported on the government being urged to protect children from domestic abuse during the holidays and statistics from 2022-2023 have shown that the NSPCC helpline handled the highest number of domestic abuse contact in the summer period between July and September.

Domestic abuse can be difficult to recognise and hard to talk about, so it is important that people are informed so that they are able to recognise abusive relationships and behaviours.

More awareness

Domestic abuse is any type of controlling, bullying, threatening, coercive control or violent behaviour between people who are, or have been, in a relationship or between adults who are related to each other.

The behaviours can be physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or financial abuse.

It can be a one-off incident or even a pattern of behaviour.

Children who experience or witness domestic abuse can become withdrawn, sad, timid, emotional or even display aggressive behaviour and it can have long term effect on their mental health.

Over 1400 calls over the last year have been about coercive and controlling behaviour towards children.

Protecting children and seeking help

Breaking the cycle of abuse is a process that takes time and whilst it can feel impossible for many victims to access support or escape the abuse, help and advice is always available.  

Victims of domestic abuse can feel completely isolated and very alone, so just talking to someone can often be the first step towards accessing information and support.

If you feel you may be a victim of domestic abuse and/or violence, or you know someone who is, speak to a family member or friend you trust in a place you feel safe; alternative sources for help:

  • The National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline - 0808 2000 247- is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
  • Refuge
  • Women’s Aid

If you’re worried about a child who might be experiencing or witnessing domestic abuse, please contact:

Legal Advice

At Susan Howarth & Co., we can offer you clear and precise legal advice, helping you understand your legal position.  Please get in touch with Victoria Poole, Nicola Deakin or Sonia Rickard on 01606 48777 for a free confidential discussion.