Holiday stress can lead to domestic violence - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Holiday stress can lead to domestic violence

The holidays can be stressful..financially and emotionally. Those are two of the top triggers for domestic violence. But wanting the picture postcard holiday celebration may keep people from reporting violence during this season. "People are hesitant to call the police about domestic abuse unless it's a really serious situation around the holidays," said Assistant District Attorney Billy Bond.

Bond heads up the Domestic Violence Prosecution Unit in Shelby County. He says over the past three years, he's seen a decrease in the number of domestic violence calls during the holidays. " Because they don't want their significant other, whether its their baby's daddy, their husband, their boyfriend going to jail at Christmastime," said Bond.

Africa Gonzalez with the YWCA blames it on the holiday honeymoon phase. "This time of the year invites families to reunite. It invites people to stay together. It makes it very difficult for someone to say I want to stop this abuse,"said Gonzalez.

There's evidence abuse does occur during December. Memphis police got more than 1,500 domestic violence calls in December 2003 and 2004. You must remember, there are many domestic violence crimes that go unreported. "Many of them will tell us I've been suffering for five, ten years and this is the first time I wanted to ask for help. I can't take it anymore," said Gonzalez.

If there's one message abuse victims should get this December, it takes more than this season of hope to change an abuser.

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