• Adult Children Exposed to Domestic Violence
  • Runaway & Homeless Youth Toolkit
  • Prevent Intimate Partner Violence
  • Violence Against Women Resource Library
  • Domestic Violence and Housing Technical Assistance Consortium
  • Domestic Violence Awareness Project
  • Building Comprehensive Solutions
  • National Resource Center on Domestic Violence

Holiday Toolbox

Welcome to our Holiday Toolbox! For the past seven years, NRCDV has released information to the field, including Technical Assistance (TA) Guidance documents, as part of our Domestic Violence and the Holidays Series in preparation for the time period beginning the week of Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day (“the holidays”). These were developed to 1) respond to the common misperception that domestic violence increases during the holidays, and 2) provide support during a time that may be stressful for survivors of domestic violence and the programs that serve them.

Available research linking reports of domestic violence to the holiday season is limited and inconclusive. In fact, data available from the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) shows a decline in the number of calls received during the holidays, including on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day (see Effect of the Holidays on Calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline). Whether or not domestic violence programs experience shifts in the number of survivors accessing services during the holidays, there are unique opportunities and challenges to consider as victim advocates provide services to survivors and their families during this time.

The resources included in this Toolbox highlight trauma-informed strategies to support programs in promoting healing, wellness and safety during the holiday season, while taking into consideration the diverse needs of survivors and the advocates that serve them. Each TA Guidance document provides best practice information and resources related to: positive visioning, promoting wellness and managing stress, cultural sensitivity, responding to the food-related needs of survivors in shelter, considerations for working with survivors from specific populations, and understanding the available research.

The Toolbox features holiday call data from the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and a social media section offering messaging to engage audiences around supporting survivors during the holidays via Twitter, Facebook and other channels.

These tools are offered to inspire and support community-based programs in their efforts to develop innovative, trauma-informed, culturally inclusive practices that are responsive to the unique needs of both survivors and advocates.

Domestic Violence & the Holidays: Technical Assistance Guidance Series

Beyond Resolutions, Envisioning Your Future
By Ivonne Ortiz (December 2015)
As we naturally reflect on the year that has passed, questions may arise about how to set and achieve life goals and envision the short- and long-term future. This TA Guidance explores the New Year’s holiday as an opportunity for domestic violence programs to engage in positive visioning with advocates and survivors.

Promoting Wellness and Managing Stress
By Ivonne Ortiz (November 2014)
This TA Guidance is intended to help domestic violence programs create the organizational support needed to better respond to the wellness needs of shelter staff during the holiday season.

Cultural Sensitivity During the Holiday Season
By Kenya Fairley (December 2013)
The holiday season can present both opportunities and challenges for survivors and advocates in shelter. This TA Guidance discusses some issues to consider as programs work with survivors and their families during this time of year. Included are practical, cost-effective interventions, which may be easily adopted at any shelter program.

What’s Cooking
By Patty Branco (November 2012)
With the approaching holiday season, questions may arise about how to appropriately respond to the food-related needs of survivors in shelter and how to manage excess food donations. This brief document offers guidance from the NRCDV Programs & Prevention Team.

Considerations for Survivors from Specific Populations
By Patty Branco (December 2011)
Victims and survivors may experience additional stress and unique challenges over the holiday season and may turn to advocates for needed support. This TA Guidance offers some considerations for working with survivors and their families during this time.

Understanding the Research
By Patty Branco (November 2010)
This TA Guidance document provides an analysis of the available data on the volume of requests for domestic violence services during the holidays.

Effect of the Holidays on Calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline

This section includes information on the number of calls received by the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) since 2004. The NDVH call data reflects individuals reaching out on a toll-free helpline for assistance, and includes victims, friends and family, and less frequently, offenders. A comparison of average call volume to holiday call volume indicates that that the number of calls actually decreases during the holidays, including on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

2007-2016 data on calls to National Domestic Violence Hotline
2006-2015 data on calls to National Domestic Violence Hotline
2005-2014 data on calls to National Domestic Violence Hotline
2004-2013 data on calls to National Domestic Violence Hotline


Note: These statistics represent the experience of the National Domestic Violence Hotline only. Representatives of state and local programs, along with representatives of law enforcement, medical staff and other service providers may have different experiences during the holidays.

Social Media Engagement

Because of the potential for increased media and other attention to domestic violence around the holidays, it is important that advocates carefully examine and understand the data offered within this Toolbox. Advocates may be able to leverage this opportunity to raise awareness of domestic violence and educate the public about its magnitude and complexity. This section includes sample Twitter and Facebook posts to assist advocates in engaging with audiences and responding to questions about a potential connection between domestic violence and the holiday season.


  • Holidays can be stressful. @NationalDVAM Holiday Toolbox offers support and guidance.
  • During holidays @NDVH calls go down, #DV does not. Check out @NationalDVAM Holiday Toolbox for the facts.
  • 6 ways to respond to #DV during the holidays.
  • Does #DV rise during holidays? Check out the facts in the @NationalDVAM Holiday Toolbox.
  • Practice cultural humility & inclusion during the holiday season. @NationalDVAM
  • Did a reporter ask you about the holidays and a rise in #DV? Get the facts in the @NationalDVAM Holiday Toolbox.
  • Turn resolutions into life goals. @NationalDVAM offers guidance.
  • Additional holiday related work responsibilities can lead to burnout. @NationalDVAM offers advocate wellness tips.
  • “But It’s Christmas!” Not for everyone – cultural sensitivity during holiday season. @NationalDVAM  offers guidance.
  • Food connects people, especially at the holidays. @NationalDVAM guidance to shelters trying to meet survivors needs.
  • Making DV services supportive & accessible to different populations during the holiday. @NationalDVAM


  • The holidays can be stressful for everyone. For survivors of domestic violence, and the professionals that serve them, the holiday period can bring additional challenges and opportunities. @NRCDV has a series of holiday-related Technical Assistance Guidance papers covering topics from positive reflection and visioning to cultural sensitivity to promoting wellness and managing stress. #ThisIsDV
  • With the holiday season approaching, questions arise about the connection between domestic violence and the holidays. To date, there is no comprehensive national study linking the holidays with an increase in domestic violence. @NationalDomesticViolenceHotline stats show a decline in hotline calls from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. See more in the @NRCDV Holiday Toolbox. #ThisIsDV