The 1st day back in January is known in legal circles as D day or divorce day. It is the time when solicitors are deluged with new family clients each year wanting advice with regard to divorce, domestic violence and separation. I recently took part in a discussion on Radio Lancashire where I set out the divorce procedure and gave tips to those wishing to conduct their own divorces – (Listen at end of post)
Domestic violence increases by at least a third over the Christmas period and the fact that many services close at the time of greatest need means that there is often a stampede in January.
My firm offer an emergency 24/7 advice line over the Christmas period and we were contacted each day by clients needing advice with regard to Christmas domestic abuse.
The media will often claim that the reason for an increase in domestic violence is due to the “stress” of Christmas, the debt that many find themselves in, the pressure to have a perfect Christmas, the cold weather (!?) and of course alcohol. I do not believe that any of these factors cause domestic abuse as many families deal with the above issues every year without incidents of violence or abuse.
Alcohol does of course exacerbate matters and can increase incidents of violence however the propensity for violence is already present. Many perpetrators attempt to justify their actions by blaming alcohol, Christmas or stress rather than taking responsibility for their own actions.
Unfortunately many victims of domestic abuse who are thinking about ending the relationship in November/December often decide to stay with the perpetrator until after Christmas “for the sake of the children”. This is invariably a huge mistake and simply means that the children witness further incidents of abuse and violence which scars their memories of Christmas for years to come. If there was one message I could get across to victims of domestic abuse at the run up to Christmas it would be this – for the sake of your safety and that of your children please leave now have a peaceful Christmas in safety away from the perpetrator and hopefully live to see the New Year as tragically many do not.