Breaking the cycle of abuse, 16 days and onwards


The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence came to an end on the 10th of December, which was Human Rights Day. The campaign covered a broad spectrum, though one of the most prominent of these across the globe is domestic violence. While Christmas is often a joyous family occasion it is worth remembering that it can be stressful too, and very difficult for some.

Domestic Abuse at Christmas

16 days – shining a light on the true impact of domestic abuse

You may have seen throughout the 16 days campaign that domestic violence doesn't affect a small minority, it is not just a problem for the developing world. One in 4 women are affected by domestic violence, as are 1 in 6 men. The financial cost to the UK totals around 22.9 billion a year according to UN figures.

These figures show the breadth of the impact domestic violence has, but there is also the devastating effect on individuals and their children. Almost 750,000 children are witnessing domestic violence, whilst tragically, 2 women a week in the UK are being killed by their partners.

It is time to break the cycle, and show that talking about domestic abuse is not taboo. This is a serious social problem which affects generations of families, with children who witness domestic violence twice as likely to commit abuse as adults.

Not over yet - Expected rise in domestic violence over holidays

Organisations across the board, from social housing to charities and police always prepare for an increase in domestic violence over Christmas. Although the message we often hear about Christmas is one about relaxing and enjoying each others company, it's easy to foresee.

There are several reasons for this, but it all boils down to an increased amount of stress or pressure, and also an increase in alcohol consumption.

Womens Aid have reported an increase in financial abuse specifically during the holidays. Financial abuse by itself is still domestic abuse, despite not being violent. Examples of financial abuse include:

  • Withholding money for basic items such as food, clothing and bills
  • Forcing their partner to give up work, often isolating them
  • Putting all bills in the partner's name – it may be used as leverage to coerce them later on
  • Taking the woman's salary or taking control over the joint bank account

What can a victim do to fight financial abuse?

There are several things you can do if you are beginning to, or currently experience financial abuse:

  • Contact your bank to make sure transactions are approved by you
  • Be wary of any agreement you're asked to sign
  • Keep a personal bank account if you have a joint bank account

We all have a part to play in putting an end to domestic violence. Simply being approachable, and offering a judgement free environment can make a significant difference to a victim's life.

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