Bay of Plenty police are reminding people the best gift this Christmas is saying "no" to violence.
Christmas can be anything but festive for some families who suffer violence rather than peace and goodwill through the holidays.
That was why prevention of family violence is high on the priority list for Bay of Plenty police over the summer with targeted activity in the lead up to Christmas and beyond, police said.
Prevention Inspector Scott Fraser said "There is no doubt that financial and family stress, often combined with an increased consumption of alcohol, can take its toll at Christmas but that is no excuse for violence and we will be cold calling high risk recidivist family violence offenders to make it clear that it is not acceptable."
Police will also be working actively with victims to ensure suitable support and intervention plans are in place for families and individuals known to be at risk.
"Children often suffer the most, even if they aren't the victims of the actual physical violence. They risk growing up with very sad memories of Christmas and the best gift anyone can give them is violent-free holiday full of fun, not trauma.
"We will be working hard throughout the summer with assistance from partner agencies but there are also things that families and individuals can do themselves to reduce the risks. Accepting that violence is not OK is the first step and it is also important to recognise that there is no shame asking for help," said Inspector Fraser.
Other steps that will help towards a Christmas free of violence:
- Planning is the key, especially when there are different family groups involved or where parents of children are separated and there are access issues.
Agree social and family arrangements in advance and stick to the agreed plans. Make sure children get to spend quality time with both parents if there is shared custody.
- Don't spend what you can't afford. Work out what you need to buy for Christmas and what bills you need to cover and set that money aside.
- If you are finding the whole idea of Christmas too stressful talk to a friend or someone else that you can trust.
- Go easy on the alcohol. If you are drinking make sure you have equal amounts of water or non-alcoholic drinks.
- If an argument starts to brew, take a deep breath and walk away. Time out to let everyone calm down and if necessary sober up.
- If you have real concerns for your safety or the safety of your children contact the police.