Domestic violence doesn’t take a break for the holidays – although calls for help do decrease, according to Shannon Barry with Madison-based Domestic Abuse Intervention Services. “People tend to believe that domestic violence takes a break during the holidays,” said Barry. “What we know is that it doesn’t. Batterers and other domestic violence offenders may be under better behavior during the holidays, when friends and other family members are around. So victims are faced with a honeymoon phase during the holidays.”
Madison police chief Noble Wray said nationally, less than one-quarter of domestic violence incidents are ever reported to police – to the detriment of children. “We’re finding young people who are traumatized,” he said, adding that kids who are victimized can become more likely to bully other children or become involved in gangs.
Barry said signs of an abuser can include someone who ridicules partners or children, who gets jealous over a partner spending time with other people, who is violent towards people or pets, or who tries to control situations.
Calls for assistance to domestic violence help lines decrease during Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, then go back up after the holidays.