The holidays can often be stressful for many families. It’s often believed that domestic violence-related calls increase by at least 20 percent during the Christmas-New Year’s holiday. With the pressure of family gatherings and alcohol, this can lead to an uptick in cases. The heightened sense of expectation regarding preparing to have family over, cooking, and gift-giving can lead to immense pressure for many. For domestic violence victims, this could create a volatile space, making them feel like they’re walking on eggshells not to provoke their abuser. 

Dealing With Heightened Expectations 

Every year, expectations during the holidays seem to be heightened. While you want to make sure your friends and family are receiving the best gifts, you are also trying to make sure that you can balance your time and make sure said family can get along. All of this might seem like a tumultuous juggling act for many. Any slight mishap can cause it all to come crumbling down. When it does end up failing, the victim is often devastated. The stress put on the victim may make them feel as if something goes wrong, their abuser may lose their temper. 


In 2018, calls to the 1800 RESPECT hotline increased by about 22 percent that December. The New South Wales Police also reported 40 percent more domestic violence call-outs that month than there had been in June. It proved that around 40 percent of domestic violence call-outs had increased due to State of Origin nights upon further research. With the holiday season just around the corner, they forecast that calls will surge to around 20 percent during the Christmas-New Years’ break. 

More Than Bruises 

Abuse can go beyond just physical. While many would be looking for bruises, abusers can often use several forms of abuse to harm their victims. Tactics such as psychological abuse and manipulation such as gaslighting are both ways the abuser will use to intimidate and make their victim feel like they are the reason for their abuse. The use of gaslighting tactics has been used by narcissists, dictators, and even cult leaders. Gaslighting often takes place over time and eventually causes the victim to become brainwashed into thinking that the terrible events are no one’s fault but their own. 

Getting Help 

Getting help over the holidays may seem impossible. If you can safely talk with friends or family, you could find out if they are able to help you by providing a safe place to stay. If staying with friends and family is not an option, you can always seek the refuge of women’s shelters in your area. If you or a loved one have been a victim of abuse, you are encouraged to visit White Ribbon. There you can connect with numerous different hotline numbers that will find you help and shelters.