Increase in domestic violence cases seen during holiday season
DELMARVA – In just 60 seconds, a local domestic violence hotline receives 13 calls according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
A number that could rise during the holidays, as Worcester County Sheriff Matt Crisafulli explains. “Domestic violence calls are some of the most dangerous calls for law enforcement officers to respond to,” Sheriff Crisafulli said.
According to the NCADV, 34.4% of Maryland women and 28.8% of Maryland men experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner rape, and/or intimate partner stalking.
Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence says they’ve seen a surge in clients reporting abuse just this year, serving now over 400 people.
Although they see a decline in cases during the holiday, Executive Director Jeanne Yeager says it could be misleading. “Victims think I don’t want to break up the family and report abuse. During Christmas, they try to hold it all together because it is Christmas,” Yeager said.
During such a festive time, what could be causing this?
Psychologist Dr. Katy Seifert says the season could be triggering for those already dealing with addiction or mental health issues. “Where you might normally be able to settle a situation like a disagreement, if you’re drinking you might get into an argument or even a fight. It just makes the argument worse,” Dr. Seifert said.
“Losses that you’ve had that you’re still grieving for can make you feel sad, and it’s okay to get someone to talk to.”
Those we spoke with say it’s important to not look at this as why the abuse is occurring, but what can be done to stop it. “We’re here at any point in time that you want to run anything past us to say this doesn’t feel right. What do you think? What are my options? That’s what we’re here for,” Yeager said.
“If you grew up in that atmosphere you might think it’s okay, but it’s okay to learn another way that you can settle your disagreements as well,” Dr. Seifert.
Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence tells 47 ABC that these domestic despites aren’t always physical, as there’s been an increase in the use of technology in domestic abuse cases.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any form of abuse, experts urge that you reach out to your local police department.
The Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence also has a 24-hour hotline if you’re in need of help.
That number is 1-800- 927-4673.