Think Pieces

Increase in crime over Christmas

19 December, 2023

Certain crime types can increase over Christmas, such as housebreaking, domestic abuse and fraud. It is important to remember that Victim Support Scotland is here to help.

Our helpline is open throughout Christmas and the New Year.  If you have been affected by crime we can support you no matter who you are, and no matter what the crime.



Throughout the festive period there can be an increase of housebreaking incidents. This can be due to the shorter days and darker evenings, meaning perpetrators have more hours of darkness.

This can also be due to presents being visible through windows and under trees, which may be illuminated by Christmas lights. Many homes are also left empty, with people often out visiting.

We recommend keeping any Christmas presents out of sight from windows, and dispose of any Christmas present packaging discreetly so perpetrators cannot get an insight to what items may be inside the property.

Be sure to lock doors and windows when going out, and do not announce your holiday plans on social media. You can also ask neighbours for assistance to help your home look like it is occupied.

If you have been a victim of housebreaking at any point, our Emergency Assistance Fund can provide you with safety items to help you feel safer in your home. Click here to find out more.


Domestic Abuse

Incidents of domestic abuse have increased significantly since the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, with incidents at their highest over the festive period.

Police Scotland recorded 64,807 incidents of domestic abuse in 2021-22, a decrease of 1% from the previous year. Despite this decrease, the most recent results from the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey estimated that fewer than one in five cases of domestic abuse are reported to the police.

In the last few years, incidents of domestic abuse were exacerbated by the pandemic. In 2020 around Christmas-time, reported domestic violence incidents in the UK almost doubled from the previous year, from around 200,000 in 2019 to around 369,000.

According to a survey by Stowe Family Law, one in six respondents believed that they were more likely to suffer emotional or physical abuse at the hands of their partner during the festive period.

If you have been affected by domestic abuse at any point over the festive period, it is important you report this to the police. If you feel unable to do so, Victim Support Scotland is available for emotional support throughout Christmas, via our helpline and online chat.

If you have been affected by domestic abuse, these organisations can support you throughout Christmas:


Hemat Gryffe Women’s Aid

Rape Crisis Scotland

Say Women

Scottish Women’s Aid

Shakti Women’s Aid

Scotland’s domestic abuse and forced marriage helpline is also available 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Click here for more information.



Incidents of fraud increase significantly around Christmas. This may be even more prevalent this year during the cost of living crisis.

With many people now shopping online, it is important to remember that sophisticated scams can take place. Bogus websites advertising counterfeit goods and services also increase throughout the festive period.

Remember that fraudsters are highly skilled at tricking people into giving up personal details, money, goods, etc. No matter how careful you are, you can still be easily caught out. Try not to blame yourself – it is only the fault of the offender.

Victim Support Scotland is here to help you if you’ve been affected by fraud. Call our helpline, 0800 160 1985, or use our webchat service, which you can usually see on the bottom right of this site.