Domestic Violence & the Holidays

Dec 21, 2010

The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) and VAW Net have released a technical assistance guide to help domestic violence leaders address questions about whether domestic violence increases during the holiday season. NRCDV has not found any reliable, national studies linking the holidays to an increase in domestic violence, or any national data on the numbers of calls to shelters or law enforcement.

The guide says, in part: “Advocates and policy makers alike may be able to use this as an opportunity to discuss domestic violence and make the public aware that domestic violence does not stop during the holidays, that individuals and families cope differently with holiday related stress, and most importantly, that while the holidays may bring aggravating factors to the equation such as financial stress and alcohol consumption, battering is always an intentional behavior.” Click here for the guide.

Barrier Free Living in New York City released a series of tips to help keep the holiday season safe for victims of domestic violence. It recommends encouraging survivors to start new holiday routines, visit safe neighborhoods, and meet family and friends in new locations. “Try not to follow a traditional holiday routine,” the group recommends. “For example, if you go to your grandmother’s every Christmas, don’t go this year. This is the first place your abuser may look for you. Instead, go to a family or friend’s home that you normally do not visit on the holiday that is in a safe neighborhood."

The group also cautions that survivors may need more support during this season. “Not being with your family and friends can bring up a lot of feelings including sadness, frustration, and anger. Talk to your friends and family. Reach out for extra support from counselors, advocates, and help lines.”

Read more holiday safety strategies and tips from Barrier Free Living here.

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