Domestic violence spikes over the holidays: fact or fiction?

You may hear or read stories in Mount Holly this time of year about how incidences of domestic violence increase greatly during the holiday season. On the surface, such a claim would seem to make a lot of sense. Holidays can be very stressful and many people are under pressure from their families. Add alcohol to the mix and it would be easy to see how violent incidents could follow.

According to the Huffington Post, claims that intimate partner violence spikes over the holidays may not exactly be true. Part of this is due to the nature of this type of abuse. Domestic violence is usually not a single alcohol-fueled incident but rather a consistent pattern of behavior over time. If you are a victim of abuse, your partner’s aim is likely to exert control over you and that does not happen with a single incident.

In addition, the very presence of having family members around may actually deter violence. Most people want to try put on a good face in front of their friends and family and may therefore be on their best behavior. In addition, many families may make an effort to keep it together during the holidays for the sake of their children.

Ultimately, there is just not enough empirical data to back up the claim that domestic violence spikes during the holidays. The National Domestic Violence Hotline, which operates all day, every day, actually reports receiving fewer calls from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. While that does not mean that violence is not occurring, it does mean that people are less likely to seek out help during that time period. Therefore, more research is needed in order to really know whether intimate partner violence gets worse during the holiday season.