Studies show domestic violence calls increase after Christmas

Updated: Dec. 23, 2016 at 10:08 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY CO., AL (WSFA) - Domestic violence calls are the most dangerous calls a law enforcement officer can go out on, according to prosecutors.

Two officers in Georgia were recently killed in the line of duty responding to a domestic violence call.

Sadly, police officers will likely respond to an uptick in domestic disputes over the holidays.

"Our Norman Rockwell expectations are for everything to be fabulous, it just puts a lot of pressure and stress on families," said Nancy Thomas, Clinical Mental Health Counselor at Montgomery Psychiatry and Associates.

The financial strain of buying presents, coupled with family togetherness and alcohol can turn a festive get together into a violent situation.

"A lot of folks, who are victims of domestic violence, don't call the police or don't report it because of the kids. They want to make sure the kids have a Merry Christmas and they'll hide it but as soon as Christmas is over, that's when the uptick comes," said Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey.

Since domestic violence doesn't take a holiday, Bailey says prepare now.

"Have something already tucked away in a safe place where you have a copy of your driver's license, copy of your birth certificate, medications," said Bailey.

Thomas also suggests keeping your phone on you at all times and removing dangerous items from the kitchen.

"Have a plan, know how you're going to escape if you have to; you may have to wait until the other person is asleep or has gone to work," said Thomas.

Not everyone has gotten the message that it's a season of peace. Clinical Mental Health Counselor Nancy Thomas offers up some communication skills through active listening.

"One of the ways to show that you've really listened is to paraphrase back to them and say things like 'ok, so I think I understand,' 'tell me if I have this right,' 'what I think you're saying is,'" said Thomas.

Thomas says you don't have to be together 24/7, take a break and remember tempers will flare when alcohol is involved.

"If you are the one that is fearful of the violence, be sure you're not drinking because you need to keep a clear head," said Thomas.

Bailey says in addition to domestic violence calls increasing over the holidays, authorities see an uptick in folks driving under the influence.

"Alcohol causes a lot of the crimes that we see, whether it's the domestic violence or driving under the influence; a lot of homicides that we see are caused or precipitated by the drinking of alcohol," said Bailey.

If you need help, there are several resources in the River Region including the Family Sunshine Center and the One Place Family Justice Center. You can call their 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-650-6522.

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