When Andy Williams wrote about Christmas in his famous carol, he said there’d be “there’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and caroling out in the snow!” What he didn’t mention however, in that list of all things wonderful, was the seasonal rise in domestic abuse that cops see every year at Christmas time.
How, you may wonder? How can a time so filled with joy and festivities also be a time of in-house violence and abuse? Well, when you consider all the other things that come into play at Christmas time, it makes a lot of sense. Between the financial pressures of increasing heat bills and holiday gift shopping, along with the cold weather and all the days with no school where the family is cooped up together inside, it’s easy to understand. Add to that the tensions at family get togethers and the free-flowing alcohol, and it’s a doozy!
Deck the halls, trim the tree, and… watch out for your spouse!
However, while abuse at home may increase over the holidays, many people aren’t able to deal with it until the new year begins. Why? Because people feel the need to keep up appearances at Christmas time. They’re with family and loved ones, and don’t want to feel like they’ll ruin the holidays. So they say nothing, and pretend nothing’s wrong. This goes hand-in-hand with the desire to keep Christmas magical for their children, which means trying to hide the abuse.
A study completed a few years ago revealed that while domestic violence incidents spike over the holidays, New Year’s Day is actually the worst. However, most shelters admit that they get more calls from abused women after the first. The reason? Because by then women have gone back to work, and they now feel they can safely reach out for help. Calling a shelter, or calling the police while your house is full of out-of-town relatives, or while your intoxicated spouse is watching TV six feet away is practically impossible.
Here, have another cup of eggnog and don’t mind my black eye!
For many people who are in abusive relationships, the situation is made even more difficult if they have children. Even if their children aren’t victims of their abusive partner, they might still be deemed “at risk.” If an argument gets out of hand, and a neighbor calls the cops, they might reach out to CPS when they arrive and discover children at the house.
Once CPS shows up, they may decide that the children are at risk of violence, or have witnessed violence and therefore aren’t being cared for properly. Now, a person who is already struggling because of their abusive relationship, has lost their children as well! To compound this issue, CPS might later accuse the victim of endangering their children by not fleeing their abusive partner, or filing to protect their children.
Here come the carollers, oh… and there goes CPS!
This can mean that instead of the time with family and gift giving that Christmas should have brought, instead their family gets torn apart at Christmas time. Kids taken by CPS and now staying with relatives (if you’re lucky!). Angry spouse behind bars, which means it’ll be ten times worse if you’re not gone when they get out. And possible criminal charges for the victim. Merry Christmas indeed.
At The Kronzek Firm, we understand that for many families, Christmas isn’t the season of twinkling lights, hot chocolate, and presents. Instead, it can be the season of violence, child welfare workers, and loss. But it doesn’t have to be like that. If you or a loved one are struggling with an abusive partner whose violence may cost you your children, call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. We’re available on Christmas eve, Christmas day and New Years Day, and all the days and nights in between!