Victoria Police and family violence organisations urge Victorians to celebrate safely this holiday season

Friday 17 December 2021

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While many families celebrate the festive season safely, for others it is the most dangerous time of the year.

More than two thirds of all assaults reported last Christmas Day and New Year’s Day were related to family violence, according to latest figures from the Crime Statistics Agency.

The number of family violence assaults spiked on both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, up almost 40 per cent than in the days before and after the two major holidays.

No to Violence, Victoria Police and Safe and Equal are urging Victorians to look after each other this holiday season.

No to Violence Chief Executive Officer Jacqui Watt said police referrals to the Men’s Referral Service spike at this time of year and she encouraged men who are concerned about their behaviour to seek help and keep their loved ones safe this holiday season.

“Everyone has the right to celebrate safely,” Ms Watt said. “The festive season should never be used as an excuse for violence.”

“To anyone who is using family violence or concerned about their behaviour I say this: call the Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491 or chat to us online at,” Ms Watt said. “It doesn’t have to be like this and we can support you to change your behaviour.”

Crime Statistics Agency and No to Violence Men’s Referral Service figures show:

  • On Christmas Day, 67 per cent of assaults are family violence related;
  • On New Year’s Eve, 58 per cent of assaults are family violence related;
  • On New Year’s Day, 65 per cent of assaults are family violence related;
  • In December 2020, police referrals to the Men’s Referral Service were 20 per cent higher than any other month in the year.

Victoria Police Family Violence Command Assistant Commissioner Lauren Callaway said she knows there will be people who will be very worried about what the holiday period will mean for them.

“They will be thinking about whether there will be violence, whether it will be safe to stay at home, whether there is any money to fund leaving, or whether they can put on a brave face again in front of family and friends,” AC Callaway says.

“My message to everyone is Victoria Police is here to stop family violence. We don’t go on holidays for a reason – we know it’s a high-risk time of the year and we are here 24 hours a day to make you safe.”

Safe and Equal Chief Executive Officer Tania Farha said family violence services are swamped at this time of year due to increased demand.

“The increase in family violence incidences during the Christmas and New Year period is staggering. Specialist family violence services are overwhelmed with calls for help during what should be a happy time of year,” Ms Farha said.

“As well as the Christmas lunch and unwrapping gifts, we’re encouraging everyone to focus on what matters most: each other.

“We can all play our part in looking out for friends, family and neighbours this year by asking the simple question ‘Are you safe at home?’ It just might be the greatest gift of all.”

If you or someone close to you is in immediate danger, dial 000

Advice and counselling for men concerned about their use of family violence: Men’s Referral Service, 1300 766 491

Victorian 24-hour family violence response centre: Victorian Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre, 1800 015 188

24-hour national sexual assault and family violence counselling: 1800RESPECT national helpline, 1800 737 732

Page last updated Friday, December 17 2021


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