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Family dynamics

20th Dec 2018

The upsetting reason why few women report domestic abuse on Christmas Day

Jade Hayden

One in five women in Ireland currently experience domestic abuse.

On Christmas day, however, it’s likely that less women will reach out and report their domestic abuse to a helpline.

Domestic violence charity Women’s Aid has said that they don’t expect to have an influx of calls on Christmas day because the majority of women in abusive relationships will try to bring a “semblance of normality” for their children.

They said that it is usually after Christmas Day and into the New Year that more women begin calling, having found themselves suffering physical abuse, or having become newly homeless.

“We usually we would see a bit of an uplift when the kids go back to school,” they said.

“Women with small children need a window of opportunity to make the call. If they’re still living with the partner that can be very difficult as he’s going to be around more [over Christmas].

“We get a number of calls on a regular basis where a woman is talking and suddenly, mid-sentence the line goes or she might just say I can hear a key in the door. That happens all-year round.”

Similarly, abusive behaviour doesn’t stop over the festive period either.

Rather, a lot of women experience “sudden flashes” of hurt, fear, intimidation, and intentional cruelty against them and their children around this time of year, as partners and ex-partners use Christmas and the expectations around the holiday as a means of control.

“Abusive men can use the holidays to threaten the well-being of children using them as pawns to control and intimidate during what should be a time of joy,” said the charity.

Women’s Aid are currently in the middle of their Christmas fundraising appeal.

You can can donate €4.00 by texting ACTION to 50300, or online at