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Domestic violence on the rise during the holidays

Experts say the holidays can create challenges for those in abusive relationships.

SAN ANGELO, Texas — The holidays are a time of joy and many spend it surrounded by family and friends. However, this time of year is also when there is an increase in domestic violence.  

“Domestic violence occurs throughout the entire year. However, holidays seem to be very sensitive to our situation, whether it’s Thanksgiving or Easter or even special holidays like birthdays, also the New Year's Eve and New Year's Day they say statistically is the highest and so we have to kind of be prepared for our increase in hotline calls,” Family Shelter Program Director Valerie Tillery said. 

Tiller says many times abusive relationships don't start off violent. In many cases, victims do not notice the red flags the abuser is doing. 

“Some people think it’s love at first sight but in many cases it’s a quick involvement where the relationship really isn't a healthy relationship, maybe there’s an increase in criticism, there’s a lot of stress going on between finances and buying gifts, yet the behavior has always been there,” Tillery said. 

Tiller says it’s important to get immediate help and contact local law enforcement before the situation gets out of hand. 

“This time of year a lot of people want to keep it together maybe for the sake of the family or the holidays or the children, yet this is something you need to take in consideration if there is a violent incident and maybe it’s just minor, it can be pushing or shoving, you need to call the police, you need to file a report, at least get it on record because a lot of times it increases the cycle of violence, increases to the point where it can be a physical altercation where you or your children are harmed,” Tillery said. 

If you or a loved one needs assistance contact the Family Shelter hotline at 325-658-8631.