What does Christmas mean to you? They say it’s the most wonderful time of the year…. Sadly, the reality for some is quite the opposite.

As a domestic abuse practitioner with Next Chapter, we often see a rise in domestic abuse cases over the Christmas period. Many factors can contribute towards this, such as the increase in alcohol consumption and the financial pressure to create a ‘perfect’ Christmas.

Many of us will be looking forward to seeing our dear ones within our ‘Christmas bubble’ but for others this may mean the opposite and having to spend more time in a confined space with their abuser. Many issues can arise when pressures are high. During the Christmas school holiday, children are out of their routine and can become restless. There is fear of the children witnessing the abuse and therefore, having to walk on eggshells to protect them and keep the peace. This can be exhausting and instead of enjoying Christmas, there is a real sense of isolation and being alone.

Many of my clients talk to me about the fear of not creating the ‘perfect’ Christmas for their families, especially if there is ongoing domestic abuse. There is dread of Christmas not going to plan and believing it will be their fault and they will be blamed. My advice is clear, Christmas is one day and does not have to be perfect. Taking on the responsibility to make everything picture-perfect, is an impossible task. You are responsible for yourself and your children. If you share Christmas with other adults, they are accountable for their own happiness and for their own actions.

 

What you can do

Speak to someone – Tell someone you trust, this could be a close friend, work colleague or family member. Confiding in someone will help.

It is always important to be aware that domestic abuse can be experienced by both men and women, of any sexual orientation and of any age.

You do not have to suffer in silence, you will be believed and you will be supported.

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin. Mother Teressa

Next Chapter are here to help and can offer support and advice during and after the Christmas period.

Duty Team: 01206 500585 opt 2

Compass Essex Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0330 333 7444

www.thenextchapter.org.uk Live web chat service available

And the time had come when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful that the risk it took to blossom. Anis Nin