The school holidays can be great –there’s no homework to complete for parents to check, July and August should bring blue skies and hot weather, plus there is the ability to sleep as late as you like. For both parents and children, the summer holidays can be heaven.
It’s no surprise that the police, who respond on average to thirty incidents of domestic violence per day, report the number of calls drop during the summer months. This must indicate that families are truly happy when they are together, right?
Sadly, for either a parent or child, factors such as extra time spent together can often make it difficult for people to seek help, or even escape. The increased time of being in an unstable household can lead to multiple feelings of fear and isolation, with a greater chance of experiencing violence and abuse.
For a parent, the added responsibility of keeping children entertained over the six weeks can add tremendous pressure, especially with a rise in temperature.
If you feel like you need to talk to someone, call the freephone 24 hour Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge, on 0808 2000 247.
It’s not just parents who can become victims to abuse; the children who are staying home day after day can experience the trauma, too.
Every year in the UK, just under a million children are ‘hidden victims’ of domestic violence. Their experiences can include overhearing shouting or witnessing a parent being violent towards the other. They may also be a victim first hand, which may lead to the child feeling isolated and alone over summer. Children may also find being away from teachers difficult over the summer, as children can feel safe in their school environment. If you are under the age of 19, you can call Childline on 0800 1111 if you need to talk to anyone.
The rise in smartphones among children and young people has led to the growing trend of sexting: the sending and receiving sexually explicit imagery, videos or messages. Children and teenagers may find the extra time away from school provides the opportunity to engage in this behaviour, which can often be at the expense of someone else.
This online abuse can cause feelings of shame, guilt, embarrassment, and make you feel anxious about what people are saying about your behind your back.
Reasons for sexting may be peer pressure to fit in with friends or to gain the approval of a romantic partner. If you do not feel comfortable speaking to a friend or family member, we strongly encourage anyone who is worried about sexting, whatever the reason, to seek advice through a special counsellor. They offer a confidential service to support and listen to you; and they can often help take photos down from sites should this affect you.
Please remember help is still available during the summer months. If you feel affected by any of the issues visit our Get Help page for resources.
You can also download Bright Sky, a free mobile app supporting victims of domestic abuse and their friends and families. You will be able to find your nearest IDVA service and contact details. Bright Sky is currently available to download on iOS devices, with Android version coming soon. For more information about Bright Sky click here.
If you or someone you know is in need of immediate help in a crisis, always call 999.