When the Celebration Ends: Dealing with Domestic Violence this Holiday Season
Celebrating the holiday season can be a joyous and happy occasion; but, it can also create significant financial stress, and challenge already strained relationships. For many families, the stress of the season combined with heightened emotions can culminate in domestic disputes. As a result of these tensions, Maryland law enforcement officials expect the number of domestic violent incidents to increase significantly over the holiday season.
Under Maryland law, domestic violence is defined as the intentional intimidation, false imprisonment, assault, sexual assault, threat, harassment, or stalking perpetrated by an intimate partner against another.
The holiday season can be exceptionally tough and emotional for families dealing with domestically violent relationships. Partners in a domestically violent relationship should be aware that several factors could put strain on already volatile relationships during this time of year. These factors include: unemployment, increased alcohol and drug consumption, the rising cost of living expenses, increased family conflict, and the stress of gift giving.
With the holiday season in full swing, many couples and families are spending longer periods of time together. This prolonged contact can further instigate anxiety and stress in the home and result in a violent conflict.
This holiday, we urge you to be aware of the potential for domestic violence and to protect yourself in the event that an incident does occur. If you feel that you are at risk for domestic violence this holiday season, please consider incorporating the following advice into your safety plan:
- Keep money and your fully charged phone on you at all times.
- Decide on a safe place to go if an argument occurs, and be sure to avoid rooms with no exits or with weapons.
- Identify people and places that will help you in an emergency, such as the police, a domestic violence shelter, or a close neighbor.
- Program your emergency contacts into your phone, and memorize all emergency numbers in case your phone is taken away from you.
- Use holiday visits to family and friends as a chance to minimize being alone with your partner.
- Ask a neighbor to contact the police if they hear fighting, screaming, or unusually loud noises.
- Teach your children what to do in case you are harmed or in danger.
If domestic violence affects your family this season, be sure to remain calm and to follow your safety plan. The assistance of a knowledgeable family law attorney may be helpful when deciding how to approach this delicate situation. Our family law attorneys at JM Blattner, LLC are experienced with helping families and intimate partners deal with domestic violence. Please contact us if you feel you need legal assistance to handle any concerns that may develop this holiday season.
We hope you have a safe and happy holiday.