The idea that the rate of domestic violence increases during the holidays is nothing new, and is often brought to the attention of a national audience by sensational local news and media. Yet the sensationalism around such cases may in fact be warranted—domestic violence rates do tend to tick up during the holidays, as evidenced by the number of people seeking respite in domestic violence shelters going up right around New Year’s Day.
According to one report, calls to law enforcement agencies reporting intimate partner violence in an unnamed U.S. city were significantly higher on New Year’s Day than on any other day of the year, going up from 34 to 56 calls. The trend tends to extend into the first couple weeks of the new year as well—calls to national hotlines tend to increase 5 percent over the first two weeks of the year.
Reasons for Increased Violence
There is much speculation as to why this trend occurs. In some cases, abusers are stressed out for financial or emotional reasons after the holidays and have an outburst that may be worse or more intense than the victim is used to, causing the victim to take action in a way that she may not have had before. In other cases, the New Year is a time for reflection for the victim, in which she may find herself asking herself if this relationship is really the best way for her to spend a whole other year. In yet other cases, a woman who had already sought refuge in a shelter may leave the shelter in an attempt to make things “normal” during the holiday, especially if there are children involved. In their cases, the uptick in the number of victims reporting to a shelter after the holidays may simply be a return to their normal pre-holidays.
It may not just be the end-of-year holiday season that causes an uptick in domestic violence, however. Some reports find that there is an increase in intimate partner violence law enforcement calls on Memorial Day, Labor Day, and the Fourth of July as well. This could be for the same reasons that there is an uptick of calls during the December holidays.
California Criminal Defense
If you have been accused of domestic violence, no matter whether the alleged victim has sought assistance yet or not, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Do not go through it alone. Contact an experienced Santa Clara County criminal defense attorney today.