Domestic Violence During the Holidays

Flashback to Thanksgiving – was your cousin Taylor acting a little odd? Did Taylor have a bruise they couldn’t logically explain, or did Taylor seem like they were scared without the presence of their spouse? In the context of your conversations, did Taylor mention any struggles with money, or access to their money? Maybe Taylor’s partner tried to make sure Taylor didn’t talk to anyone alone or has been trying to communicate excessively about Taylor without their presence. Perhaps Taylor was much quieter than their usual self, or maybe Taylor last minutely backed out of your holiday plans altogether.

These are just a few signs that your loved one is a victim of domestic violence.

Multiple research studies have shown that domestic violence generally worsens around holidays and events, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and even The Superbowl. The worst of these days in generally New Year’s Eve (where reports increase by 2.7 times), which is why we wanted to bring this discussion to the attention of our readers.

Why Does Domestic Violence Worsen Around the Holidays

People who physically or emotionally abuse those around them are often considered to be volatile; they quickly change unpredictably and become the worst version of themselves. The holidays are often a very stressful time for everyone- there are a lot of expectations to fulfill, holiday plans gifts and travel can be very expensive, and volatile people tend to become more volatile under pressure. Holidays are also a time where people tend to consume more alcohol, which often worsens volatile behavior. This is not to say that the holidays are a sufficient excuse for an abuser, this is only to try and offer a logical explanation for the behavior.

How can I help a loved one who is experiencing domestic violence?

  • Foremost, learn and recognize the signs that abuse is occurring. We discussed some here, but there are simply too many to cover in one blog post, so we’re linking some additional resource of information below.

  • When you talk to the victim, make sure that you listen without judgement and help them acknowledge that their situation is scary.

  • Help the victim create a safety plan, which is a series of actions they can take to lower the risk of being hurt by their spouse or partner.

  • Let them know that your support for them is unconditional- you are a friend, ally, and resource to them if they stay with their partner or if they choose to leave. It is important to understand that victims often struggle to leave their partners, and therefore may not immediately choose to leave.

  • Help them identify a support network that helps with their physical needs- such as food banks, housing resources, etc.

  • Help them store important documents in a place that the abuser cannot access, such as a safety deposit box, or a mutual friend’s home.

  • Encourage them to have a life outside the relationship and participate in activities they care about- such as sports, social groups, or religious organizations.

  • Get them connected with legal resources so they can be informed of their rights.

  • Talk to them regularly, stay by their side, and keep your ears open.

Addressing abuse is difficult, but it is a conversation that can truly save lives. At Alexander & Associates LLC Attorneys at Law, we are proud to service people from all backgrounds, including survivors of domestic violence. If you’re ready to consider ending your marriage, give us a call.



Vasquez, S. P., Stohr, M. K., Purkiss, M. (2005). Intimate partner violence incidence and characteristics: Idaho NIBRS 1995 to 2001 data. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 16(1), 99-114.