Spruce Tree branch on Wood Background and defocused lights.
Victorians are being urged to look out for those community members for whom Christmas 2020 will be an immensely distressing and challenging time.
The Christmas and the New Year period is often a time of joy and celebration. But it’s also period of distress and hardship for many people—especially given the challenges of 2020.
VCOSS CEO Emma King said:
“It can be painful to watch people give gifts and attend family gatherings when you can’t do the same.”
“That’s why Christmas is often a lonely and difficult time for many Victorians.”
“Even in a normal year, Christmas exacerbates isolation and poverty. It drives a spike in family trauma and violence.”
“With COVID, many more people will be experiencing isolation, loneliness, loss and hardship this festive season.”
“Many people will be mourning lost ones or getting by without a job for the first time.
“People on JobSeeker will be bracing for a New Year cut in their support payment.”
This year has been so brutal hasn’t it? I’ve witnessed so many loved ones experience great losses, great pain and so many challenges. It’s been so hard for so many people to continue to show up when feeling so depleted and isolated. Now crawling to the finishing line.
— Roj Amedi (@Roj_Ame) December 22, 2020
Ms King said extra expenses around Christmas, and the lure of dangerous ‘buy now, pay later’ schemes can also make things worse.
She’s urging people to avoid putting big expenses on credit cards or using loan sharks, and to either reconsider discretionary spending, or ask about discounts or hardship payment plans, where possible.
“The last thing you want is a big Christmas debt haunting you in the new year.”
Ms King said: “If you need help, ask for it.”
1300 22 4636
National Debt Helpline
1800 007 007
National Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Helpline
1800 737 732 (1800 Respect)