The holidays can be a a big stressor for any family, but especially those prone to domestic violence.
Channel 3 Senior Health Correspondent Monica Robins has help for anyone dealing with fear, instead of joy, this holiday season.
We asked advocates at WomenSafe Inc, the Green House, in Chardon about domestic violence this time of year.
Experts tell us any changes in the pattern of daily life could escalate violence. Also, holidays create an added financial burden on families, escalating already stressed relationships.
Domestic violence is a form of control used by the abuser over their victims. Add to that a higher alcohol consumption and the results can be devastating.
Need help? Have questions?
Ohio county-by-county list of shelters
What to take when you decide to leave
Forbes House in Lake County
Domestic Violence Center of Greater Cleveland
Battered Women's Shelter of Summit & Medina counties
Teens and dating violence
Types of abuse
Cleveland Rape Crisis Center
The Summit County Hotline is (330) 374-1111 (Toll Free Hotline (888) 395-4357) and the Medina County Hotline is (330) 723-3900.
The Domestic Violence Center of Greater Cleveland's hotline for information and help is (216) 391-4357.
Know that this pattern is not just during the holidays, as the economic slump we have been in for the past few years has also added to the numbers.
Gatherings with extended families where not everyone gets along can also trigger violence. It's important to note that often victims of domestic violence choose to stay in abusive situations because the holiday is a time where we've all been taught to be with family.
There are a few factors that play into the escalation of domestic violence during the holidays.
During November and December, stress runs higher than normal in most families. Unfortunately, in households where domestic violence is present, anything that changes the pattern of daily life creates an escalation in violence in the household.
Holidays create an added financial burden on households.
Sometimes holidays add interaction with extended family members. This can be a trigger point for abusers to become more violent because they feel a sense of "loss of control of their victims."
The holidays also are a time where the victims of domestic violence choose to stay in abusive situations simply because the holiday is a time where we have all been taught to be with family.
In many instances, the extended family may not be the abuser's favorite relatives. Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hanukkah are prime times for domestic violence simply because the abuser knows how important family is to the victim and use this to get a handle on their victim, ultimately causing stress and arguments.
What is perceived as the normal ins and outs of family life is now compromised and triggers violent behavior.