For many Victorians, the Christmas holiday period is a time for joy and celebration. But statistically, it is one of the busiest times of year for services responding to family violence and sexual assault.
According to the Crime Statistics Agency Victoria, over the past five years the number of recorded family incident reports has repeatedly peaked in the months of December and January.
This periodic spike can be partially explained by the increased contact between victims and perpetrators, financial stress and alcohol consumption associated with the holiday period.
While none of these factors can be causally linked to the perpetration of family violence, research tells us they can create an environment in which violence is more likely to occur.
Given how challenging the nature of work in this sector can be, it is especially important response workers actively take steps to support their wellbeing during this demanding time of year.
There are many ways you can look after yourself and prevent work-induced stress and burnout.
Reaching out for support, asking for help when needed and taking time to debrief with someone you trust about your interactions with victim survivors is key to protecting your wellbeing.
Sources of support you may turn to over these next few weeks may include your supervisor, a trusted friend, your colleagues, a loved one or a counsellor. If available to you, you may also be able to access your employee assistance program in times of need.
1800RESPECT will also continue to offer around-the-clock support to professionals over the holiday period; lending an ear to listen, clinical consultations and referrals to response workers who want to debrief or discuss the personal impacts of their work.
To reach 1800RESPECT you can contact 1800 737 732. Alternatively, you can access their online chat service here.
Consciously blocking out time in your schedule for the things that nourish, nurture and rejuvenate you is another way to promote your wellbeing during this busy time of year.
This could look like putting aside time to rest, doing activities that help clear your mind and spending time around the people, things and hobbies that bring you joy.