Violence in the Home Peaks During the Holiday Season

Domestic violence affects 1 out of every 4 families. During the holiday season, people tend to act more violently and aggressively toward each other for several reasons such as: increased use of drugs and alcohol, stress from financial problems, conflicts with the in-laws, and pressure to give your child every gift on his or her list. For these reasons, the holiday season can be a dangerous time for families. To further this problem, boys who witness violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults, thus creating a cycle of violence that can impact a family for generations. 1 in 5 female high school students report being physically or sexually abused by the person they are dating, which is a statistic many parents are unaware of and are unprepared to handle.

The good news is that there are services to help families who experience violence, including anger management and domestic violence counseling for the abuser, support groups and individual counseling for victims, and legal advocacy available through most family law attorneys.

Many victims of domestic violence do not know what to do if they decide to leave the abusive relationship. The most dangerous time for a victim of violence is the period immediately after they leave their abuser. If you or someone you know is leaving an abusive relationship, you should first create a "safety plan." Safety plans typically includes creating a support network of friends and family the victim can stay with, familiarizing oneself of the nearest domestic violence shelter and the services they provide, and filing a domestic violence Civil Protection Order.

A Civil Protection Order, which lasts for 5 years, helps to deter violence by creating severe penalties when an abuser violates the terms of the Order. In order for a victim to create an enforceable Civil Protection Order, there must be physical or sexual abuse, or a pattern of stalking or harassment, that shows there is a threat of physical harm to the victim. It is not necessary for the abuser to have been arrested or convicted of domestic violence.

If you or someone you know is the victim of violence, the Forbes House has a 24-hour Helpline to help create a safety plan at (440) 357-1018. Our law firm, Kurt & Vermilya Law, Inc. also provides comprehensive legal services for domestic violence victims. We would be glad to assist you during this trying time. We can be contacted at (440)516-1010.