The Christmas period is meant to be a time of happiness and joy. However, sadly, for some it will be a time of living with intimidation, fear and violence. Domestic abuse does not stop just because it is Christmas. Christmas can be one of the most difficult times of the year for victims of domestic abuse.

The Government defines domestic abuse as ‘any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse whether psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality’.

Due to a number of factors including excessive alcohol consumption, financial tensions and additional family commitments Christmas time is a peak time for domestic abuse to occur.

Domestic violence affects 1 in 4 women in their lifetime and statistics show it kills 2 women every day of the year. Yet despite these harrowing statistics domestic abuse remains very much a hidden crime. On average a victim of domestic abuse will suffer 35 attacks before seeking any advice, support or assistance from the Police. And what we know increasingly is that men are also victims of abuse both in heterosexual and same sex relationships.

It can be very difficult for someone experiencing domestic violence to access support during the festive period – a period when an abusive partner may be spending more time at home and monitoring the victim’s behaviour more closely than ever. Often victims will try to keep it together for the children not realising that they are picking up on everything that is going on.

Victims of abuse often feel helpless and alone but it is important they realise there is help out there. Victims can:

• Access support and advice from specialist domestic abuse charities, for example, Women’s Aid or Harbour.

• Report incidents to the Police who have specially trained domestic abuse officers.

• Seek legal advice about applying to the Family Court for Orders to protect themselves.

Here at David Gray Solicitors LLP we have a specialist domestic abuse team who have a great deal of experience in dealing with domestic abuse cases. We understand coming to see a Solicitor is a daunting experience and we will listen and provide clear advice about the options available. We can also refer clients to and liaise with other agencies for additional advice and for additional support. We operate an emergency rota all year round which means a member of our domestic abuse team will always be available to provide advice and assistance the very same day.

Contact us by phone (on 0191 243 8163/Emergency Out of Hours 07764 929 487), email or Chat Live on our website.