I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays. I’ve been spending most of the festive season at home wrapped in multiple layers of warm clothing and trying to figure out an answer to the age-old question: is it possible, though the medical establishment has yet to realize it, that watching all four seasons of Friday Night Lights in rapid succession can cure the flu?
But as Nina Funnell reminds us in Australia’s The Age, the festive season isn’t just about food and presents and precious moments around the Christmas tree. It’s also a time at which a law enforcement services and women’s shelters brace themselves for a spike in domestic violence. According to Funnell, the period between Christmas and New Year’s, with its combination of “financial strain, families spending more time together, and increased alcohol consumption,” brings an increase in domestic assault. In New South Wales, my home state, “police responded to more than 5000 domestic-violence related complaints over the December 2009 to January 2010 period.” The coincidence of the holiday season with the heat of the Australian summer only makes things worse; as Funnell notes, incidences of domestic violence are far more likely to occur during the summer.
Funnell outlines the resources available to those in NSW dealing with domestic violence, notably, a new DV resource website that was launched this month and that wisely takes in to account the possibility that a person checking such a site might need to clear their browser history or exit the site quickly if their abuser enters the room. That site also includes a list of resources for Australians not living in NSW.
If you’re in the US and need information about domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, whose site has a similar “quick escape” button that will redirect you to a neutral site immediately if the need arises. If you’re in the UK, you can call the National Domestic Violence Helpline.
Have a safe and happy holiday season, everyone.