BRASS: Domestic Violence spikes each Christmas season: Why? What to do?

50% increased DV calls 2020

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – With the holiday season comes a heartbreaking statistic. 

Police response to domestic violence calls typically increases by 20 percent every December according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

But in the height of the pandemic in 2020, those responses totaled 50 percent higher.

Barren River Area Safe Space said their organization remained at 99 percent capacity all 2021.

BRASS Director of HR Hannah Hartley said, “On average and a calendar year we take about 4000 crisis calls. A good portion of those do tend to come near holidays….This week is a great example [of what causes spikes in DV calls.] There’s going to be a major weather event that’s going to keep people stuck at home.”

BRASS Director of Finance Janette Guzman added, “We hate to see it, but it’s going to happen…The more time that you spend together, the more escalations can happen.”

If you are a survivor experiencing domestic violence, BRASS recommends you call 911. If this is not an option call brass to help you make a safety plan.

Hartley explained, “That would look like gathering your important documents, your birth certificate, driver’s license, social security card maybe a change of clothes, any necessary medication or eyeglasses, contacts, anything like that. Keeping those all together and keeping them in a safe place.”

BRASS warns against escaping abuse while your perpetrator is home.

“Fleeing a residence with a domestic abuser, that’s when you’re most likely to be injured or killed by a perpetrator,” shared Hartley. “That would be a time when we would recommend always getting law enforcement involved. We’re very blessed to have, you know, law enforcement that is incredibly compassionate toward victims of domestic violence.”

If you’re seeing loved ones over the holiday season be aware of the signs of DV. Wearing too much-covering clothing for the occasion or canceling plans last minute at a partner’s request can potentially be red flags.

“First and foremost, listen to them,” began Hartley.

“Let them take the lead of what they want to do next,” continued Guzman. “You know you’re there just there to support them. You can’t push them to do something that they’re not ready to do.”

Guzman encourages survivors and their loved ones to remember, “There is definitely hope for all our victims of domestic violence. We see it every day here.”

If you are at your breaking point and ready for help, “We are in an emergency shelter every single day,” said Hartley. “No matter the holiday no matter the weather. We are always here to help people who need a place to go.”