Family violence set to surge over Christmas

The Christmas and New Year period is typically characterised by a spike in family violence incidents.
The Christmas and New Year period is typically characterised by a spike in family violence incidents.

THERE’S little Christmas cheer for family violence victims, with a surge in incidents expected over the festive period.

WA Police has warned that the Christmas and New Year period is typically characterised by a spike in family violence incidents.

New police figures showed a sharp rise in reported family violence incidents over the festive period last year.

The daily average number of family violence-related tasks was 227, compared to an average of 180 across the entire year.

A total of 156 family violence-related incidents were investigated by police each day on average, compared to the whole-of-year average of 130.

And the daily average number of police orders issued to protect victims was 77, compared to a daily average of 61 for the rest of the year.

Each day, there was an average of 70 incidents in which children were exposed to family violence, compared to an average of 59 for the entire year.

“Police are concerned about the increase in family violence incidents during the festive season and they are encouraging people to seek help before their problems get worse,” a police spokeswoman said.

“Traditionally, there is an increase in the reported number of family violence incidents during the warmer summer months, especially around the Christmas and New Year period.

“Increased consumption of alcohol, family obligations and financial problems are contributing factors, but police emphasise that by no means are these an excuse for violence. Any violence, particularly violence in the home, is unacceptable.”

People are urged to seek help before matters escalate, by contacting the domestic violence helplines, domestic violence support services or local police.

Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk said it was a devastating reality that, as most Western Australians celebrate and enjoy the festive season, incidents of family and domestic violence increase.

“Violence against women is unacceptable and it is vital that victims of violence can reach out for help when they need it,” Ms McGurk added.

“While I hope the small decrease in reported incidents since the 2017-18 Christmas period marks a turning point for Western Australia, it could also mean that less people are reporting.

“The theme of this year’s 16 Days in WA campaign is ‘speak out’ and I encourage everyone to call out inappropriate behaviour against women, so victims know they are going to be believed and supported when they come forward to report.”

Police Minister Michelle Roberts said while Christmas was a time when families came together, it was also a time when family and domestic violence incidents spiked.

“I know there can be frustrations and I know that there can be arguments, but there doesn’t have to be violence,” she said.

“Police are on duty over Christmas and the New Year, so if you witness domestic violence, or are a victim of it, don’t suffer in silence, say something, the Police will be there.”

For help call: 
Domestic Violence National Helpline 1800 200 526
Men’s Domestic Violence Helpline 1800 000 599
Women’s Domestic Violence Helpline 1800 007 339
Local Police 131 444