Christmas is a time for giving, indulging and enjoying time with family and friends. It’s a time for festive films, Christmas songs and, getting merry at the markets, but sadly, for many, this isn’t the case.
Reports show that there is a stark increase in domestic abuse cases around the Christmas period. With increased financial pressure, excessive alcohol consumption and added stress, it has been found that 1 in 6 are more likely to suffer emotional or physical abuse from their partner over these two weeks than at any other time of year.
Domestic abuse covers both physical and emotional harm to a partner but can also extend to a former partner, child, cohabitant or family member. It includes controlling behaviour over finances, appearance and where a person goes or who they can see.
With what can feel like an emotional rollercoaster at a seemingly joyous time of year, there are ways to stay safe around the festive period and places to seek support.
Signs to look out for:
The signs can be easily missed, and in many cases are not just physical. Domestic abuse is often gradual and can sadly start to feel normal within the household. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to recognise if you are the victim of abuse:
Does your partner show consistent signs of jealousy, humiliation or possessiveness over who you can see and where you can go?
Does your family member or parent change moods dramatically from cheerful to aggressive?
Does your partner or former partner control your finances without your consent?
Do you feel pressure to do things you don’t want to do?
Have you ever felt unsafe around your partner?
Have they shown any threatening behaviour that makes you feel scared or isolated?
These signs not only can be identified in your own household but can be used to look out for those around you. Spotting the signs is the first step in seeking help.
Seek support from Charities
As a victim of domestic abuse, it can feel dangerous or impossible to leave, and it may not be an option for some people right now. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t support available:
- The Refuge National Domestic Abuse Helpline can help victims of domestic abuse with housing and offers confidential emotional support.
- Woman’s Aid is for women experiencing domestic abuse. There is a live chat service between 10am-6pm for support and guidance.
- Mankind is there for men experiencing domestic abuse with a helpline offering support. They can direct you to local services wherever you may be.
You may not be ready to go forward with legal proceedings and charities like these (and many others) can offer a confidential and safe haven during the intensities of the Christmas period.
Reporting Domestic Abuse
Regardless of the time of year, it is encouraged to report domestic abuse, whether you are the victim or know of someone else who is being abused.
The police have procedures in place to report abuse in addition to calling 999, such as their online portal. Advice online explains how you can remove a visit to their website or their online reporting portal from your history to protect your safety whilst you seek help.
Consider An Injunction
Once reported, you may consider an injunction as a long-term safety method. An injunction is a court order that can come in different forms to prevent the person abusing you from entering your home or surrounding areas. Breaching this injunction could lead to an arrest.
You can apply online for an injunction and, once processed, you will be sent a court hearing date. We encourage you to seek legal advice if you choose to go down this route to explain the best option to keep you safe whilst proceedings take place.
Get legal advice fromÂ CWC
Christmas can be a scary time for many, we offer legal advice on your options and rights to keep you safe.
Our legal specialists can also be on hand to provide legal aid, where legal fees are covered, in addition to preparing the documents for court so that you do not need to come into contact with the person who has abused you.
If you need legal advice, contact us today.