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Domestic abuse at Christmas

Violencia verbal domestic shouting

Reports of domestic abuse rise over Christmas.

Whilst Christmas is a time focused on celebration and joy, it is important to remember that domestic abuse does not disappear over the festivities. In fact, the trend in police callouts displays a much harsher reality with Merseyside Police reporting that ‘UK police forces often see a spike in domestic abuse cases at Christmas.’

As BBC News reports, other police forces observe similar increases in domestic abuse cases over Christmas.

Therefore, it is important that wherever you are spending Christmas time, you know the signs to look out for, and what help is available, should you or your loved ones need it.

What is domestic abuse?

Firstly, it is important to note that anybody can experience domestic abuse, regardless of race, gender, age or other identifying factors.

In England and Wales, the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 defines domestic abuse to consist of physical abuse, sexual abuse, violent or threatening behvaiour, controlling or coercive behaviour, economic abuse, psychological abuse, emotional abuse and other abuse.

We wish to stress that domestic abuse does not always include physical violence, which is a common misconception. In fact, the BBC notes that it is hoped by the Police that victims will report all incidents of domestic abuse, whether physical or psychological.

Furthermore, domestic abuse is defined as occurring between parties who are aged 16 and over, and personally connected to one another. This can mean family members, spouses, civil partners, those who have been in an intimate personal relationship and those who have had a parental relationship with the same child.

Furthermore, the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 defines domestic abuse as occurring between parties who are each aged 16 and over, and personally connected to one another. This can mean family members, spouses, civil partners, those pending marriage or civil partnership, those who have been in an intimate personal relationship and those who have had a parental relationship with the same child.

Children are also recognised as victims of domestic abuse where they see, hear or experience the effects of the abuse, and are related to the parties involved.

Furthermore, the NHS reports that domestic abuse against women often starts during pregnancy, which can have an impact on the baby.

In summary, domestic abuse can happen to anybody, as it can be inflicted by anybody. If you believe that you are experiencing any abusive behaviours, our family law solicitors are committed to listening to you and assisting you.

Where to find help over the festivities

Please remember that if you are trying to leave an abusive relationship, be cautious as to who you tell, to ensure that the perpetrator of abuse does not discover your new location.


We note that it can be daunting to seek help for domestic abuse over the holiday period, especially as many offices are closed for the Christmas break. Nevertheless, the police service operates 24/7 and it is important to report domestic abuse to your local police, whether to report an emergency or to log an incident.

If the situation is not urgent, and you do not believe that you are in immediate danger, then please contact the police by telephoning 101.

In an emergency it is fundamental to contact the police by dialling 999. If it is not safe to speak over the telephone, there is the option of a ‘silent solution’. Please press 55 when indicated, and you can cough or tap, in response to the operator’s questions.

Helplines and support agencies

Additionally, support can be accessed through national helplines and local organisations.

The national domestic abuse helpline for women and children, Refuge, will be operating for 24/7 over Christmas and can be contacted on 0808 2000 247. If English is not your preferred language, then Refuge can arrange an interpreter so that you may communicate with the operator in the language of your choice.

If you are situated within the Knowsley area, the Knowsley Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) emergency duty team will be available at all times throughout the Christmas and New Year period. MASH can be contacted on 0151 443 2600.

Safe Place is a sexual assault referral centre for the Merseyside Region, open 24 hours, all year round. Please contact 0151 295 3550, for their support.

Legal support

You may wish to seek legal protection by contacting a solicitor. If you are affected by domestic abuse, you may seek a Court Order to protect you and/or your child.

At Morecrofts LLP, we have a team of specialists who can help and support you with obtaining protection from domestic abuse.

Please note that our offices will be closed for the Christmas holidays from 4pm on Friday 22nd December 2023 until 9am on Tuesday 2nd January 2024.

You may wish to keep a log of any abuse that you have experienced over the Christmas period, if it is safe for you to do so. Please contact our offices on 0151 236 8871 in the New Year, if you would like to find out more about how we can support you.

Why the increase at Christmas?

The festive period can be a stressful time for many, due to heightened financial pressures, increase in alcohol consumption and spending more time with family, in closer proximity.

Nevertheless, we wish to stress that there is no excuse for domestic abuse and echo the sentiment of Detective Chief Inspector Rogers, who reminds us that whilst many offenders may try ‘to blame their violence on things like alcohol, financial pressures or family rows’, “… it is a choice.”

In previous domestic abuse awareness campaigns, Merseyside Police reassure the community ‘that although making those first steps and reporting abuse can be daunting, there is support available.’

We highlight the NHS’s guidance that you do not need to wait for an emergency situation to report domestic abuse, if you believe that you are experiencing abusive behaviours, it is important to remember that you are not alone.

Increase in rise of domestic abuse and other key events

Unfortunately, a rise in the reports of domestic abuse occur more regularly than Christmas.

Upsettingly, it is not uncommon to see a crescendo in reports of domestic abuse when a key event is taking place.

In November 2022, the Crown Prosecution Service had warned of their expectations that domestic abuse would rise during the World Cup. Even citing the National Centre for Domestic Violence, which stated that ‘reported incidents [of domestic violence] increased by 26 percent if England play, 38 percent if England lose, and 11 percent the next day, win or lose.’

The CPS have noted that the festive period continues to be one of its busier periods. Therefore, it is crucial to remain vigilant for our peers year-round, and to provide extra support over the Christmas holidays.

Please remember that you are not alone and that our team of specialists at Morecrofts LLP, are here to help. You can read more about our domestic abuse services here.