Data suggests domestic violence increases during winter

Struggles and strife are part of every relationship, but sadly, in some relationships these issues escalate into abuse or violence. There can be many factors that contribute to abusive situations, and unfortunately, a recent report suggests that the occurrence of domestic violence peaks during the start of winter and the new year. This means this is an opportune time to remind victims in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, of their rights and options.

Seasonal domestic violence increases

According to Charlotte’s WBTV, numerous domestic violence experts report an increase in domestic violence incidents between November and January. There are a few factors that may make domestic violence more likely to occur during this time of the year:

  • People spend more of their time with family and at large gatherings, which may increase stress.
  • Various financial strains – including tax return filing, reduced work hours and the arrival of holiday bills – occur during this season.
  • Cold weather can trap people indoors, making them spend more time together.

While none of these factors are an excuse for domestic violence, it is easy to see how they may raise the risk of it occurring. Although most of this financially and emotionally stressful season has passed, domestic violence can obviously occur any time of the year, which makes it important for victims to understand what actions they can take following an incident.

Resources for domestic violence victims

In North Carolina, the term “domestic violence” encompasses threats, harassment, physical harm and attempted harm that a victim suffers from a person that he or she has a personal relationship with, according to the website of the North Carolina General Assembly. In this context, people who have a personal relationship with the victim include spouses, ex-spouses, children, opposite-sex roommates and family members.

People who have been affected by domestic violence can take several protective legal actions. A plaintiff can file a civil motion to take the issue to court, and a plaintiff who believes that he or she is in a dangerous situation can file for emergency relief to expedite the hearing. Temporary custody orders may be issued before the court date if danger appears imminent to any children of the plaintiff and defendant.

If the court determines that domestic violence has occurred, a protective order will be issued to restrict the behavior of the defendant. A temporary order can implement a number of changes that would normally be ordered during divorce negotiations, including payment of spousal support and child support. A protective order can also require the defendant to leave the residence, cease contact with the plaintiff and attend a treatment program.

Even as the season that may increase the likelihood of domestic violence winds down, it is important for victims to remember that they have rights and various means of protecting those rights. Anyone who has been affected by domestic violence should speak with an attorney early on about ensuring personal protection and dealing with other legal issues that may arise from the situation.