Domestic Violence During the Holidays: Strategies for Safety

Domestic violence is a threat during the entire year, but incidents of domestic abuse increase during the holidays. Think about it: During what other part of the year are stressors like unrealistic expectations, financial pressures, anxiety and depression, and/or exposure to toxic family dynamics any higher? Add extra holiday alcohol consumption to the stewpot of negative emotions and the recipe for increased holiday domestic violence comes to a quick and unsavory boil.

Identifying and reducing the extra holiday stressors in your life and your family’s life is one way to address the problem. However, this may not be nearly enough to keep you and your family members safe. If domestic violence against you or other family members is even a possibility, having a pre-planned escape strategy can be a genuine lifesaver.

For starters, put together an escape kit that include copies of documents like insurance cards, drivers license, passports, birth certificates, bank account and credit card numbers, a change of clothes and toiletries for each affected family member, money, important business and personal phone numbers, and copies of house and car keys. Keep your escape kit in a secure hidden, but accessible place, preferably at a close friend or relative’s home. An extra set of car keys may be hidden close to your car or in the car itself to allow for a quick escape.

Stay alert to your escape options in every room of your home. If you have to leave in a hurry, plan how you will get yourself and your children physically out of your home. Decide ahead of time on a safe destination. Teach your children who to call and what to do if you are unable to leave a dangerous situation. Make copies of all your important documents, including the ones already in your escape kit, and store these copies somewhere other than your home.

I hope your holidays are safe.

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