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Holiday Toolbox

Welcome to our Holiday Toolbox! 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.

2008-2017 data on calls to National Domestic Violence Hotline
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

A cylinder style graph chart for the Calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline for years 2014 to 2017. Average calls per day vs. holiday calls.

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.  Additional Twitter and Facebook post samples.

Twitter

  • @NRCDV shares trauma-informed strategies to support #DV programs in promoting healing, wellness & safety during the holiday season, while attending to the diverse needs of survivors & advocates. http://bit.ly/2yNf8aa #ThisIsDV
  • As we approach the upcoming New Year’s holiday, use this opportunity to reflect and look toward the next year! @NRCDV offers guidance for survivors & advocates: http://bit.ly/2zLwB6c #ThisIsDV
  • Setting & reflecting on our life goals can be empowering! @NRCDV offers guidance for #DV programs engaging in positive visioning w/ advocates & survivors during the holidays. http://bit.ly/2zLwB6c #ThisIsDV
  • The holidays are celebrations of joy, but they can also bring sadness. @NRCDV offers guidance to help #DV programs better respond to the wellness needs of advocates during the holidays: http://bit.ly/2zHmVKl #ThisIsDV
  • Excessive workplace stress can affect shelter staff during the holidays. @NRCDV offers guidance to help #DV programs better respond to the wellness needs of advocates during the holiday season: http://bit.ly/2zHmVKl #ThisIsDV
  • The holiday season can present both opportunities and challenges for survivors and advocates in shelter. @NRCDV offers guidance for cultural sensitivity during the holidays. http://bit.ly/2zJS3Zm #ThisIsDV
  • By solely focusing on Christmas during this holiday season, shelter programs may marginalize or ignore the needs of non-Christian residents & staff and those that do not celebrate Christmas. http://bit.ly/2zJS3Zm #ThisIsDV
  • @NRCDV offers guidance for responding to the food-related needs of survivors in shelter and for managing excess food that may be donated to programs during the holiday season. http://bit.ly/2zOuPiN #ThisIsDV
  • During the holidays, food can be a means through which survivors and advocates in shelter express and celebrate their unique culture and traditions. http://bit.ly/2zOuPiN #ThisIsDV
  • Making #DV services more supportive & accessible to different populations during the holiday season can make a big difference in the lives of families in shelter. http://bit.ly/2imyxbS #ThisIsDV

Facebook

  • Whether or not domestic violence reports increase during the holidays, advocates face unique opportunities and challenges as we provide services to survivors during this time. @NRCDV Holiday Toolbox shares trauma-informed strategies to support programs in promoting healing, wellness and safety, while attending to the diverse needs of survivors and advocates. http://bit.ly/2yNf8aa #ThisIsDV
  • Envisioning life goals may be more important than we realize! @NRCDV Domestic Violence and the Holidays: Beyond Resolutions, Envisioning Your Future discusses how the New Year’s holiday can be an opportunity for domestic violence programs to engage in positive visioning with advocates and survivors. http://bit.ly/2zLwB6c #ThisIsDV
  • Setting and reflecting on our life goals can be empowering. As we approach the upcoming New Year’s holiday, use this opportunity to reflect and look toward the next year. @NRCDV Domestic Violence and the Holidays: Beyond Resolutions, Envisioning Your Future can help advocates and survivors think beyond resolutions and harness the energy of the coming new year to focus on setting realistic life goals that will promote resilience and healing. http://bit.ly/2zLwB6c #ThisIsDV
  • Creating and nurturing shelters that attend to the well-being of staff and residents is year-round work that may require additional attention during the holiday season. @NRCDV Domestic Violence and the Holidays: Promoting Wellness and Managing Stress offers guidance to domestic violence programs in responding to the wellness needs of shelter staff during the holiday season. http://bit.ly/2zHmVKl #ThisIsDV
  • The experience of being in shelter (for both survivors and advocates) can be particularly challenging and potentially isolating during the holidays. @NRCDV Domestic Violence and the Holidays: Cultural Sensitivity During the Holiday Season underscores the need for sensitivity throughout the Christmas-based holiday season, offering ideas about how programs can offer specific support to both shelter residents and staff. http://bit.ly/2zJS3Zm #ThisIsDV
  • Shelter kitchens are spaces for social interaction, and access to food may reduce feelings of family instability. Cooking food together may help shelter residents bond and apply or develop essential life skills. During the holidays, food can be a means through which individuals and families express and celebrate their unique culture and traditions. @NRCDV Domestic Violence and the Holidays: What’s Cooking? offers suggestions for ensuring that food selection, preparation and sharing during the holiday season are inclusive and empowering experiences for survivors in shelter. http://bit.ly/2zOuPiN #ThisIsDV
  • As we approach the holiday season, strive for inclusiveness, keeping in mind that not everyone observes the same holidays (or any holiday at all), and that every culture celebrates the holidays with its own unique traditions. @NRCDV Domestic Violence and the Holidays: Considerations for Survivors from Specific Populations offers guidance to help shelter advocates in supporting survivors from different populations. http://bit.ly/2imyxbS #ThisIsDV