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The truth about holiday domestic violence

We often hear that instances of domestic violence increase over the holidays, which makes sense. People are home from work on vacation, so couples are together more. They may have a home crowded with extended family members, further exacerbating tensions. Social drinking is more acceptable around the holidays, and alcohol often escalates arguments.

However, experts say that this common belief isn’t borne out by the facts. Further, the belief that instances of violence rise during the holiday season indicates a misunderstanding of just what domestic violence is. It generally doesn’t involve a “temper tantrum,” but a pattern of behavior and the need to control another person, as one official with the National Network to End Domestic Violence notes.

Even if domestic violence escalates over the holidays, victims are less likely to take their children and leave. Domestic violence shelters put special effort into making their facilities welcoming during the holiday season. However, many victims are hesitant to disrupt family gatherings and, most importantly, their children’s Christmas. The head of the National Domestic Violence Hotline talked about a little boy taken into a shelter who asked, “How is Santa going to find me now?”

While the holidays may not seem like the best time to leave an abusive situation, the important thing is to get you and your children out of it as soon as possible. Even if it means that your holiday won’t be the one you’d hoped for, it’s more important to be safe. Once you are safe, get the legal guidance you need to put protective orders in place and keep your abuser away from you and your children.

Source: Huffington Post, “Why It’s Dangerous To Claim Domestic Violence ‘Spikes’ Over The Holidays,” Melissa Jeltsen, Dec. 12, 2016

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