No Holiday for Domestic ViolenceDecember 20, 2014
The holidays are a time for love, laughter and reuniting and celebrating with family and friends. But for many people, it’s also a time of tension – tension can lead to incidents of domestic violence.
Domestic violence spikes during the holidays for many reasons. Financial pressures associated with gift-buying, entertaining and travel can intensify. Alcohol is often consumed and may increase stress levels. Family pressures and conflicts that date back to childhood often resurface. Time off from work usually means more leisure time together, which in itself can increase tension in an already strained relationship.
Domestic violence affects not only the victims but their family members and friends. It can disrupt an entire holiday and turn what should have been happy, memorable season into one that is both emotionally and physically painful. If you have reason to believe that your own safety is at risk, consider these tips.
- Make sure you have the correct phone numbers of law enforcement, a close friend or a family shelter on speed dial or stored in a safe place;
- Keep a mobile phone and some cash on hand at all times;
- Have an escape plan and a bag already packed with items for you and your children;
- Be prepared to call the police and obtain an Order of Protection from the court. Requests for orders must be made in person. If you need support, take a friend or family member with you.
Only 55 perfect of domestic violence incidents are reported to the police, according to the U.S. Justice Department. Many victims are afraid or ashamed to disclose the abuse. Furthermore, signs of violence often are overlooked, denied or excused. The truth is that there is never an excuse. The only way to end domestic violence is to be aware and take action.