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Police recognise school holidays flash point for domestic abuse

23 Jul 2019

As the school holidays are now underway, we are urging those who are experiencing, or who are at increased risk of, domestic abuse, to come forward and make a report, or seek help.

For those already living with domestic abuse or violence, long periods of enforced time together over the summer, with no respite, can often lead to increased levels of incidents, and feelings of fear and isolation.

Spending more time with a spouse or partner, especially when outside of the normal daily routine, with the added pressure of keeping children occupied until school starts again, can be a catalyst. Increased alcohol consumption, midweek late nights and boredom can also test any relationship to breaking point.

If there are limited opportunities to leave the home, it can be extremely difficult for victims to seek help, or even to make an escape, but help is available.

Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Dadd, head of our Emerald team, which investigates domestic abuse, says: “Abuse can take many forms including emotional, physical, sexual or financial and we know only too well there are seasonal pressure points, like school holidays, that can trigger episodes of further abuse, or intensify existing situations.

“We are reminding those who may be experiencing domestic abuse, whether male or female, that they do not have to suffer in silence. Come forward, report any incident, you will be taken seriously, and we are here to help.”

If someone is experiencing abuse or violence and is apprehensive about the summer holiday period, there are organisations and people that can assist. Resources and information can be found on our information pages.

Witnessing domestic abuse can be very damaging to children. If you are being subjected to abuse and you have children please consider the following:

  • include children in the safety planning process – the primary aim of any safety plan for children is to escape from dangerous situations and avoid injury
  • rehearse escape plans with children identify a safe place or person for children to go to if an incident occurs or the situation escalates

When planning to leave an abusive or violent relationship, there are some steps to ensure you remain safe.

  • when making plans, take care over who to trust with any information 
  • the time for leaving needs to be carefully planned - allow adequate time to pack and get away safely

If you are not ready to make a disclosure or leave the situation, help and advice is available to talk about options.

  • seek professional advice and support from local support and outreach organisations, domestic abuse services and helplines
  • consider how agencies can make contact safely - such as through a work number or at a friend’s address

A report can be made at any time by calling 101.  In an emergency situation, always call 999.

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