Fears for domestic violence over Christmas break

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It's a joyful time for most but it's also a peak period for domestic violence, a South Australian victim support group ...

It's a joyful time for most but it's also a peak period for domestic violence, a South Australian victim support group has warned. Photo: Stocksy

Christmas is a joyful time for most but it's also a peak period for domestic violence, a South Australian victim support group has warned.

Victim Support Service chief executive Julian Roffe says the agency is expecting a 20 per cent increase in domestic violence referrals over the Christmas period.

Financial pressure, higher alcohol consumption and custodial disputes are some of the factors more likely to place women and children at risk over the festive season.

"Christmas brings the family together, which for most of us is a very welcome thing," Mr Roffe told AAP on Thursday.

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"But when you've got abuse and violence taking place, that can actually exacerbate the problem.

"The critical thing for victims of violence is to ensure themselves and their children remain safe. They shouldn't hesitate in engaging police."

Court closures over the Christmas break are expected to make it difficult for victims of violence to obtain intervention orders against their abusers.

Those experiencing violence during this time have been advised to obtain interim intervention orders from police and seek crisis accommodation.

The VSS supports around 1200 women every year, with caseworkers providing court assistance, free home security audits, safety planning and referrals to other services.

Mr Roffe said the numbers would continue to grow unless the root causes of violence were addressed.

"People shouldn't avoid the connection between family domestic violence and gender inequality," he said.

National domestic violence helpline: 1800 737 732 or 1800RESPECT. In an emergency, call triple-zero.

- AAP