This is how Christmas is supposed to be. Pink and warm and fuzzy. Unfortunately a report from the chief executive of the Women's Domestic Violence Crisis Support Service, Rhonda Cumberland says that support services would not meet demand for victims of domestic violence over Christmas. Assistant Commissioner of Police Leigh Gassner said a combination of stress and alcohol around the Christmas and New Year period often resulted in an alarming increase in domestic violence.
Part of that domestic violence is concentrated on access visits involving children. It's common now to meet at McDonald's or in front of a police station to exchange children for access visits.
In a bitter divorce or even an amicable one, the temptation to use children as a weapon is always present. The wisdom of Solomon was never needed more than at Christmas. One or the other parent is going to be alone and the last thing a child needs is to feel guilty at having a good time on Christmas Day.
I've seen a lot of divorce, in the family and with neighbours and friends. There never seems to be a common thought that the children come first, at least not what I've seen first hand. It's hard to be polite when you're volcanic inside but when you've seen the faces of children standing between two warring parents, waiting for the first blow, it's hard not to feel for them. They learn to survive of course, learn to watch their tongue, learn to live two separate lives and hopefully, not to grow up bitter.
The police have joined the Women's Domestic Violence Crisis Support Service and the Australian Football League in raising the awareness of the serious nature of family violence.
Family violence is not confined to husband/wife/children. Elderly people are subjected to violence by relatives and children. Abuse is now recognised in gay and lesbian relationships as well. Husbands are reluctant to talk about being abused physically by women but that also is rising. It's hidden violence and it happens in religious families, low income or wealthy families.
So my Christmas wish is for a peaceful day, even if hostilities break out again and they will, give the kids a day they'll remember. Just one pink, warm, fuzzy day.