Domestic violence is a troubling and frightening issue any day of the year. But around this time, we start seeing stories that domestic violence incidences spike during the holidays.
However, available statistics don't necessarily back this up.
Lower reports of violence on holidays
As noted in reports like this one from the Huffington Post, calls to domestic violence hotlines actually drop on holidays. And according to the deputy director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, this assumption is misguided. Abuse is not just the result of isolated, high-stress situations; it is "not a temper tantrum.” It is a pattern of hurtful, manipulative and controlling behaviors
Another reason why reports about spikes in domestic violence incidences could be misleading involves children. Parents may work extra hard to control abusive behaviors or stay away from abusive parties for the benefit of their children.
Victims also may be less likely to call a hotline or file a police report on Thanksgiving or Christmas, for fear it will ruin the holiday.
There is still a risk
While violence and assault incidences may not necessarily "spike" during the holidays, those who are in abusive relationships still face threats. Abusers can still physically, sexually, financially and emotionally abuse victims like they would during other times of year.
And drinking, financial stress and being in close proximity to people with whom they do not get along can only make a situation more volatile.
Parties could also protective orders during the holidays, intentionally or not. Between increased social gatherings and heightened emotions, there may be a greater likelihood of unwanted or unlawful contact.
Know your legal options
The holidays are a stressful time of year for people, anyway. Adding in abuse allegations or the restrictions of a protective order can make them even more difficult. However, having legal support and knowing the remedies that are available to protect your and your family can make it a little easier to enjoy the holidays.