The Christmas season is always a difficult time for many people. This one is liable to be a lot harder for so many more though, and for so many more reasons than many expect.

First published in December 2020.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence always tends to rise over Christmas. With households being locked down for much of the year already it is likely that this year will be worse.

  • If you have any reason to think someone is in immediate danger, or your life may be at risk, call 999.
  • If you’re experiencing domestic abuse or are concerned for someone who is, report it by calling 101.
  • The National Domestic Abuse Helpline website provides guidance and support for potential victims. Call for free and in confidence, 24h a day on 0808 2000 247.
  • Womens Aid provides additional advice specifically designed for the current coronavirus outbreak, including a live chat service.
  • The Men’s Advice Line for male victims of domestic abuse can be contacted on 0808 8010327.
  • Galop runs a specialist helpline for the LGBT+ community on 0800 999 5428 or email
  • Refuge’s helpline is 0800 2000 247.
Refuge Against Domestic Violence - Help for women & children.
Refuge supports women,children & men experiencing domestic violence with a range of services. For support, call our Helpline on 0808 2000 247.


Poverty is rising with many families hit by job losses and reduced pay. Foodbanks are going to play an even more essential role. If you need one, or have overbought for Christmas and can donate rather than waste, the Trussell Trust has a foodbank locator.

Find a foodbank - The Trussell Trust
If you need emergency food, want to make a food donation or are interested in volunteering, find your nearest Trussell Trust food bank using our map.


Christmas has always been a tough time for many people, even before Covid. Sadly this has long been reflected in the increase in suicides over the period. The Samaritans are there to listen. Do not suffer on your own!

  • Their number is 116 123.
Samaritans works to make sure there’s always someone there for anyone who needs someone. Read more.

Mental Health

2020 has been particularly hard on people’s mental health, and loneliness over Christmas can exacerbate that.

  • Mind’s infoline is there to help on 0300 123 3393.
Useful contacts

Rough Sleeping

Winter in general is always a hard time for rough sleepers. With fewer people around, or carrying cash they can donate, this year risks many more being abandoned.

Take positive action when you see someone sleeping rough by sending an alert that connects that person to local services for support.


Housing Struggles & Rough Sleeping

Also providing help and assistance is Shelter. They help people struggling with bad housing or homelessness through advice, support, and legal services.

  • Call them on 0808 800 4444.
Shelter - The housing and homelessness charity
Shelter believes everyone should have a home. More than one million people a year come to us for advice and support via our website, helplines and national network of services.

Older People

We have heard a lot this year about protecting the elderly, but Christmas is always a very difficult time. With so many caught up by restrictions, please reach out if you can to provide support. Age UK has resources which could be of help.

  • Also call their free, confidential advice line on 0800 678 1602.
Age UK | The UK’s leading charity helping every older person who needs us
Age UK is the leading charity for older people. Visit Age UK today for help, information and advice or to see how you can donate or give support.


For a lot of autistic individuals rapid changes to plans and routines can have a detrimental effect, to say the least. With changes to restrictions happening so quickly some may be struggling. The National Autistic Society website may provide some help though.

Their Autism Helpline also provides impartial, confidential information along with advice for autistic people, their families, friends and carers.

  • Contact them on 0808 800 4104.
How you can help
From raising money with Team Autism to campaigning for improved rights to working one of our seven specialist schools, there are so many ways you can help create a society that works for autistic people.

We are all feeling it in different ways this year, but we can all support one another.

If you suspect someone is struggling, reach out to help. It is going to be a different Christmas this year, and a painful one for many. We need each other more than ever right now.🔷

Dan Sohege, Human rights advocate, international refugee law specialist, immigration economist, charity fundraising professional and Director of Stand For All.

[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 21 December 2020 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected, and published with the author’s consent. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]

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