The festive season is now in full swing, and with it the holiday traditions: Taking the children to see Santa, swathing the tree with bright baubles, checking out the latest domestic violence awareness campaign… Wait, what?
Amid all the Christmas chintz and cheer, an important message is vying to be heard. Charities, activists, and public services are reaching out to those for whom yuletide heralds not peace on Earth but fear and suffering.
One in four women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. And violence in the home is known to peak at Christmas, making it an especially dangerous time for many.
The risk ratchets up during the holidays because abusive partners are typically home more. Spending time with family members, more alcohol than usual, financial worries, and all the other pressures of the festive season can fuel attacks – or at least, offer an excuse for abusive people to erupt.
If you’re dreading the festive season because of domestic violence, please consider creating a Safety Plan.
Creating your safety plan
- If you’re writing out your safety plan, first consider where you can store it. Make sure it cannot be found by your partner.
- Reach out to someone you can trust. Tell them what you can about your situation and how they might be able to help you. This could include keeping an emergency bag for you.
- Pack (and secretly stash) an emergency bag. This should contain as many of the following items that you are able to safely set aside without your partner’s knowledge: important documents for you and your children, bank cards, copies of house and car keys, copies of important phone numbers, spare clothing, and any evidence you have relating to the abuse.
- Talk to your children about safety. Teach them how and when to dial emergency services. Ensure they understand how to keep safe during an attack on you. There is some great advice on safety planning with children here.
- Identify the safest room in your home, to which you can flee and lock yourself inside if an incident occurs and you are unable to leave the premises. Think of rooms to avoid when you are threatened. The kitchen, for example, contains items such as knives which make it a particularly dangerous place when you are being attacked.
- Make sure you know how to get out of the home quickly. Identify all possible safe exits, and practice using them if you can.
Remember, you are not alone, abuse is not your fault, and it will not get better – no matter how hard you try to fix it. It is possible for you to get free and safe, so please reach out today.
Wishing you all a safe Christmas.