Staying Safe During the Holidays

The holiday season can be a wonderful time to celebrate with family and friends, but for survivors of domestic violence there are also some safety challenges. Factors like increased financial stress, family pressure, alcohol or drug use, and increased contact with the abuser can all make the holidays more dangerous for a survivor. Even after leaving the violent relationship, some survivors find themselves in situations where they are around their abuser while visiting family.

Here are some tips to help those who have experienced domestic violence stay safer during the holidays.


  1. Remember your safety plan. Review your personal safety plan and remind your children about your family safety plan, including things like your ‘safe’ word or who to call for help. If you don’t already have a safety plan, you can review our Family Safety Plan Worksheet or call an advocate at 479-442-9811.

  2. Keep your phone charged and on you. It can be difficult to predict when an interaction will turn violent. If you know you will be around your abuser during the holidays, make sure you have your phone on you and charged at all times.

  3. Have an audience. Use the holiday gatherings as a chance to minimize the amount of time you are alone with your abuser. If you have a supportive family member, contact them ahead of time and ask that they stay close so that you don’t have to be alone with your abuser.

  4. Take care of yourself. If you have recently left domestic violence, the holidays can bring up a lot of bad memories from previous years’ of abuse. Remember to take care of yourself and focus on forming new, positive memories for yourself and your children.

  5. Get help. If you are still in a violent relationship, visiting family for the holidays might provide you a good opportunity to flee. If you have a supportive ally in the family, they might be able to provide you with short term housing, money, or assistance to help you get away. If you have access to a safe phone, contact Peace at Home at 479-442-9811 for help before, during, or after leaving violence.

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