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  Holiday Cheers, Not Holiday Tears

Dec 23, 2013 11:00 ET

A message from Victim Services of Durham Region, a valued partner of DRPS:
The holidays can be an expensive time of year. Regrettably, for many the cost is also emotional, psychological and physical. In fact, it is a busy time of year for Durham Region agencies dealing with the impact of family violence. Unfortunately, the most effected victims of family disputes and violence are the children, as they do not understand what happens, why it happens and how to prevent it.

We’re here to help, when victims need it most.

So far, in 2013, the Durham Region Police Service has attended over 4,600 Domestic Dispute calls. We are further anticipating that the December and January period will also be a busy time for Family Dispute and Family Violence calls for service.

In the calls attended by DRPS officers last holiday season, arguments often occurred over money, relationships ending, access to children, relatives visiting and a number of other issues. Some of these arguments escalated to include physical violence causing injury to victims, not to mention the distress and confusion to children. In many cases it also led to the arrest of offenders.

Additionally, we know that more incidents of family violence involve alcohol during the holiday period than any other time of the year.

This year DRPS and Victim Services of Durham Region would like to see you make it through the holidays safely and plan to avoid situations that have the potential to escalate.

Here are some practical tips we hope will assist you in having a calm, happy and safe Holiday Season and New Year.

-Set aside money to cover bills in January and February.

-Don't spend more on the holidays than you can afford. The season can be about spending time together as a family, not about buying expensive presents.

-Moderate your drinking - you don't need to drink to excess to have a good time.

-Don't drink and drive - arrange for transport home prior to going out.

-Take time out - if things become heated or stressful, go somewhere for a few hours to let things calm down.

-Talk to someone you trust if you are feeling afraid or overwhelmed.

-Don't sweat the small stuff – minor problems can be resolved without arguments.

-If you share custody of children, come to an agreement well in advance of the Holidays so that children get to spend time with each of you.

-Most importantly, if you have any fears for your own or your children's safety, contact the police immediately.

We don’t expect to eliminate family violence with these few tips, but we do hope to make the holidays safer for families in Durham Region. The dynamics surrounding family violence are complex and permanent changes take a long term commitment and support.

We’re here to help, when victims need it most. Our Officers and Staff at Victim Services are here to help when victims need it most, but it is also important to reach out to Community Agencies that can assist you in minimizing family violence during the Holidays. This list of resources can be accessed prior to the escalation of a situation.

Services that you can connect with for support:

DMHS Crisis Services

24/7 Crisis Line: 1-800-742-1890
Free, confidential, and available to assist individuals over 16 years of age who are experiencing a personal or situational crisis.

Assaulted Women’s Helpline
24/7 Crisis Line: 1-866-863-0511
Available in 154 languages
TTY: 1-866-863-7868

Durham Rape Crisis Centre
24/7 Crisis Line: 905-668-9200
The call will be answered by an answering service and then redirected to a volunteer support worker or a qualified counselor.

Senior Safety Line
24/7 Crisis Line: 1-866-299-1011

Kids Help Phone
24/7 Crisis Line: 1-800-668-6868

Pinewood Centre (Addiction)
24/7 Crisis Line:1-888-881-8878

Victim Services of Durham Region
Regular Business hours: 905-579-1520 x1846

Let’s make it “Holiday Cheers, Not Holiday Tears”

Below are attached files.
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