Expert: Domestic violence increases in December

Trends: Rise in numbers, level of violence

INDIANAPOLIS - An expert at a local domestic abuse shelter said she is seeing two disturbing trends during the holiday season –- a rise in the numbers and a rise in the level of violence.

The holidays tend to increase both financial and emotional stress.

"One of the things that happens this time of year is that folks are in close quarters, we're all inside where it's warm because of the poor weather conditions outside, so you can't get away from an argument, you can't get away from a fight," Melinda Mains with The Julian Center said.

Officials at The Julian Center said they typically see a rise in domestic violence during the month of December.

This year, the emergency shelter has stayed full since summer, instead of the need waning during the fall like it usually does.

Experts say another scary trend is the violence appears to be escalating.

"Another thing that happens this time of year is that we see a greater intensity in the violence. So while during the summer or other times of year it might be a push or a shove, we are seeing a greater incidence in the use of weapons this time of year," Mains said.

Officials said calls to The Julian Center’s emergency help line are up over 20 percent from last year.

Mains said she hopes the increase is because more survivors of domestic abuse are reaching out for help and realizing there are resources out there.

Still, those who work in the field would like to see the need decrease.

"Our trend would say that after the first of the year we might see folks exit. But given the fact that we were at capacity throughout the fall, we don't know what to expect," Mains said.

Call The Julian Center 24-Hour Crisis Line for help at 317-920-9320.

Coburn Place Safe Haven is another resource that will help those in need. A victim can call a local domestic abuse center even if he or she is not ready to leave. The center can help victims come up with a safety plan.

Follow Tanya Spencer on Twitter: @tanyaspencer6 | Facebook: Tanya Spencer

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