Does Domestic Violence Really Get Worse During The Holidays?

Domestic violence is a problem all year round. Unfortunately, there is no season where it doesn’t happen. But there are definitely seasons where it seems to get worse, and many say that’s the case during the holidays. The Christmas season in particular is said to be a time of increased domestic assault cases, both in Michigan and around the country. But why is that? Why does “the happiest season of all” seem to bring out the worst in some people? And is that really true, or is it just a myth?

A woman holding her hand up to sheild her face from an attack

The answer to that is a mixed bag…

There is a common perception that during the holidays there is a significant increase in the number of calls to domestic shelters from people experiencing violence from partners and spouses. However some studies claim this isn’t correct. There is evidence suggesting that calls to abuse hotlines actually go down during the holidays, and that most of the stories we read in the media are anecdotal or opinion pieces that reflect the experiences of advocates at particular shelters and law enforcement agencies in certain communities. But not everyone agrees with that.

Are reports of domestic violence an accurate reflection of facts?

While there are many national hotlines and call centers who say that they receive fewer calls for help and reports of violence during the holidays, they also claim it’s not because it’s happening less often. In fact, many experts say the number of domestic violence encounters actually goes up during the holidays, it’s just that people aren’t reporting the abuse. And why is that? Experts say many are afraid of “ruining” Christmas for their children, or letting loved ones down during the holidays. 

Things that may aggravate violence during the holidays:

  • Money Troubles: The stress of added financial burdens that comes with Christmas shopping, hosting parties and family members visiting for the holidays, and higher bills due to the colder weather all add pressure to already difficult relationships.. 
  • Alcohol/Drugs: Alcohol flows freely at many family gatherings over the holidays, and abusers often drink more to cope with their stress at unenjoyable get-togethers. This can lead to instances of increased violence.
  • Increased Time at Home: Many people get time off over the holidays, and in already strained relationships that can lead to more violent encounters, as people “aggravate” their abusive spouses more with prolonged contact.

Staying in an abusive relationship won’t “make it better”

If experts on domestic violence are correct, there are many people out there who will put up with substantial abuse this holiday season because they want to keep their family together for Christmas. And because they feel guilt and shame about being the cause of “ruining” the holidays if they make a report. As divorce attorneys who have helped countless people in mid-Michigan to get out of abusive marriages over the years, we can assure you that staying in a violent relationship isn’t going to make it better. You can’t wait out your abuser. They aren’t suddenly going to wake up one day and realize they were wrong, and they need to treat you better.

Sometimes divorce is the only way out.

We know that leaving an abuser is one of the most dangerous times for a victim. The abuser sees the departer as a loss of control, and they often resort to even more extreme tactics to keep their victim under their thumb. But you don’t have to stay in a violent relationship. There are ways to get out without compromising your safety, and the safety of your children. So if you are afraid this holiday season, and want to end an abusive marriage and start over, call 866 766 5245. The compassionate and hard working family law attorneys at The Kronzek Firm are available 24/7, and we can help.