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Experts are concerned domestic violence will increase in the coming weeks, with new data analysis released today by Berry Street showing the number of family violence incidents peak each year in December.

“While many Victorians are setting up for a fun and relaxing holiday season, our family violence support teams are preparing for a busy time of referrals and interventions,” Berry Street Executive Director of Services, Jenny McNaughton, said.

“This time of year can be incredibly joyful for many families, but it can also be very difficult for others. Sadly, that sometimes results in violence.”

“We’re particularly concerned this year will be far worse than previous years, with many families under increasing cost-of-living pressures.”

Data from the Crime Statistics Agency shows the number of recorded family incidents by Victoria Policy steadily increases from September of each year, peaking in December. The number of incidents remain high in January, before reducing in February.

“With financial pressures, increased family conflicts and separations, substance misuse, job and housing stress, and anxiety over how to meet basic needs, the Christmas-New Year holidays can be a very stressful time for many families.”

“Berry Street often receives double the number of referrals for family violence support in December and January, than in the period before the festive season,” Ms McNaughton said.

In 2021, the average number of recorded family incidents per month was around 7,600. December far exceeded this, with 8,388 recorded family incidents.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg. These are just the number of recorded incidents to Victoria Police – it’s likely there are just as many which go unreported,” Ms McNaughton said.

Berry Street provides a range of family violence support programs across Victoria, and services to children, young people and families impacted by abuse, violence and neglect.

“Sadly, we see the impact of family violence in every aspect of our work.”

“That’s why we continue to advocate for early intervention and targeted therapeutic programs to help keep families together safely,” Ms McNaughton said.

“We want everyone to have a safe and happy summer and festive season. Unfortunately, we know that won’t be the reality for many families, and we will have a team of family violence support managers standing by.”

Number of family incidents recorded by Victoria Police from January 2017 to June 2022

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