Disclosure Response Team, Health and Wellbeing, Winter survival guide

Why Christmas time can escalate relationship abuse and how to get support if you are affected

If you’ve experienced violence and abuse of any kind, please know that you are not alone and our Disclosure Response Team are here to offer practical support and advice.

Money tensions, unrealistic expectations and increased alcohol consumption make the Christmas period a peak time for relationship abuse/domestic violence. If your partner is controlling, coercive or threatening towards you, it is never your fault. ‘Blaming the victim’ for domestic violence is something that abusers often do to make excuses for their behaviour. This is part of the pattern of abuse. Blaming their behaviour on someone or something else – the relationship, their childhood, ill health, alcohol or drug addiction – is an abuser’s way of avoiding responsibility for their behaviour.

It includes the following types of abuse:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional abuse.

If you are the victim of an abusive relationship, you may choose to:

  • get support
  • report the violence to the police
  • leave home temporarily or permanently
  • stay in your home and get the person who is harming you to leave
  • take legal action.
You may need somewhere safe to stay. You could:
  • stay at home – if you think this is safe
  • stay with relatives or friends
  • stay in a refuge
  • get emergency accommodation by contacting the Disclosure Response Team before the Christmas holiday*
*Student Support and Wellbeing Services close on Friday 22 December and will re-open on Tuesday 2 January. For urgent support during this time, please see our urgent support information below.


Urgent support

If you need urgent support over the holiday period, we ask that you please ring the Live Fear Free helpline: 0808 8010 800.
If you believe you are in immediate danger, emergency assistance is required, or you have sustained an injury that requires urgent medical attention: call the Emergency Services on 999.

If you do not feel in immediate danger and have not experienced an incident of violence and abuse recently, but are concerned about your safety in the future, it might be helpful to consider:

  • Is there anyone you can alert for future support?
  • Make a list of names/contact information for who you can go to
  • Is there another student or staff member you trust and can talk to?

Find out more about the Disclosure Response Team

Cardiff University is committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for students. The Disclosure Response Team is here to support you.

Read more about the Disclosure Response Team

You can make a difference, #BeTheChange

As a student community, we have an opportunity to look out for one another and make Christmas a happier, safer time for all. If you think that a friend may be experiencing violence and abuse, check in with them regularly and ask how they are. Let them know they can trust you and gently encourage them to seek support. Having someone there to listen can make all the difference, so please give the gift of your time this Christmas. Read more about how to support a friend experiencing relationship abuse here.


Best wishes,
Sophie, Student Intern.


Your Student Life, Supported.

The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice & Money, Careers & Employability, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, Disability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.

The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus.

For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.


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