“Life can be a fairy tale if you break the silence” is the new campaign fronted by well known celebrities such as Emma Watson, Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Whilst usually known for their glamourous appearances, in this latest campaign to encourage women to break their silence and speak out about domestic violence, these actresses are made up as victims of physical attacks.

With Christmas looming, it may not be something that you want to think about, but the reality is, the festive season for some women will be a time of fear and domestic abuse. According to the Office of National Statistics, the terrifying figure is that on average two women are killed by their partner or ex-partner in England and Wales each week. Domestic Violence is not only physical attacks, it is emotional abuse, financial abuse, coercive control to name but a few.

The reality is however, that whatever form of domestic violence is present within the household, it sadly will affect any children living in that environment. It is difficult for any victim of domestic violence to break their silence, but having someone to talk to and understanding your options is something that can provide comfort and reassurance whilst making the most difficult of decisions.

Our Leigh Green, Senior Associate in the Childcare Department comments, “Each January we are faced with new cases where domestic violence has escalated over the Christmas period having devastating consequences for both the victim and any children present in the household. These victims are faced with tough decisions, especially at Christmas time where things are being held together just to get through Christmas.”

There are a number of avenues of support but it is about taking the first step and reaching out for help. Many victims are concerned that taking such a step will result in Social Services involvement with their family. Leigh states, “What many victims sometimes don’t realise is seeking help and support to protect them and their children will be seen as a positive step by Social Services. Failure to do so will lead to questions about the victim’s ability to adequately protect their children from the affects of domestic abuse. At a time where the victim is terrified and living in turmoil, the additional stress is another burden that is not required.” This fear acts as a barrier for many women in seeking help, whether that is simply to call 999, to reach out for support from Domestic Violence Support Services or to take legal advice.

Leigh is always happy to talk through options with an individual. “Quite often I see a person, talk through the options and they go away to consider how they want to proceed in the knowledge that help is available if they choose it. At Lupton Fawcett we work closely with support organisations to assist the victim in accessing a full package of support which is crucial. My strong advice is for any victim of domestic violence or domestic abuse to seek advice so that at the very least you are fully aware of the options and help that can be given, if you choose to take that step.”

With Christmas looming many support services may not be immediately available outside of office hours. In an emergency, the first port of call should always be the Police. If a friendly ear and anonymous support is needed Women’s Aid are open 24/7 and can be contacted on the free number 0808 2000 247.

Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.

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