Glad You Asked: Does Domestic Violence Increase Over the Holidays?

Figure 11: The image shows two people sitting at a table. One of the people has their hand raised to ask a question. The image is by rawpixel.
Figure 11: The image shows two people sitting at a table. One of the people has their hand raised to ask a question. The image is by rawpixel.

There is a common belief that domestic violence increases during the holidays. According to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, there is no comprehensive national study linking the holidays with an increase in domestic violence.

While some smaller studies show an increase, other research indicates there is actually a decline in the number of calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline over the holidays. The available research is limited and inconclusive.

However, we do know that while the holidays are a source of joy for many, they can also be stressful. In homes where domestic violence is occurring, the stress of the holidays can worsen already existing abuse. More time off from work may mean more time with the abuser. There could be financial stress or economic abuse due to gift giving. And, traveling or even just changing routines can also add stress. It is important to remember, though, that while the stress of the holidays can exacerbate domestic violence, the holidays and stress itself do not cause domestic violence.

The holidays are a good opportunity to promote health and safety for victims, survivors, and their families. Making sure basic needs are met, planning ahead for safety, and finding ways to be supportive are a few things that can help.

There are resources available.

For safety planning tips for the holidays, visit https://www.thehotline.org/2015/12/04/safety-planning-for-the-holidays/.

For information about how to support a victim of domestic violence, visit https://www.kcsdv.org/learn-more/resources/brochures/general-info/supportdv/.

Newsletter (PDF)   |    On the KCSDV Website

This project was supported by Grant No. 2019-MU-AX-0021 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

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