Warning to watch out for Christmas season domestic abuse problems
A charity has appealed to the public to give support to victims and survivors of domestic violence over the Christmas holidays.
The Centre Against Abuse has written an open letter to highlight the added strain suffered by female and male victims of domestic violence over the festive season.
The letter said that friends and family should encourage victims to seek help.
It added: “The Centre Against Abuse understand that holidays can be extremely traumatic for victims and survivors of domestic abuse.
“We are particularly mindful of domestic abuse's effects on a victim/survivor's mental health during this time …
“Often victims and survivors of domestic abuse put on a façade with family and friends because they don't want to be seen as negative.
“But loved ones need to spend some quality time with them to determine how they are genuinely doing. A caring loved one can be the difference needed for a victim or survivor's mental stability.”
The letter said: “Centre Against Abuse encourages listening and using phrases such as, ‘I care about you, and I'm here for you. This is not your fault. I believe you. How can I help? I'm here to listen and not judge.’
“These words have to be genuine and repeated often. A loved one can validate a victim's feelings and remind them of their strengths and worth and are the beginning steps to assisting the victim/survivor with trusting again …”
The charity told the public: “Centre Against Abuse asks that this Christmas you make it your business to help a victim or survivor of domestic abuse.”
The CAA said that people should make sure victims contacted the charity to get help.
It added: “Centre Against Abuse also recommends that you ask the victim or survivor if they would be interested in speaking with a counsellor or psychologist. A counsellor/psychologist can assess their mental well being and design a plan to work on their needs.”
The letter highlighted how domestic abuse included physical, emotional and psychological factors.
Victims can feel isolated, blame themselves, worry that others may not believe their story or fear retribution if they spoke out.
The CAA said that surveys showed that domestic abuse was the most common cause of depression in men and women and victims may also experience post traumatic stress syndrome and anxiety.
The letter added: “Signs of depression can be self-degradation, suicidal talk, appetite and weight changes, decreased energy and loss of interest in regular activities.
“Domestic abuse victims or survivors can experience post traumatic stress disorder when a word, scent, or location triggers them. They automatically find themselves mentally re-experiencing their trauma.
“Anxiety can be revealed as intense worrying, racing thoughts, and excessive nervousness and fear.”
The CAA said: “Together we can create healthy relationships and make Bermuda a society where victims are supported, and mental health is considered important and not overlooked.”
The organisation can be contacted at 292-4366 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The CAA 24 hour hotline number is 297-8278.