Domestic violence incidents seem to increase in cold weather

A person’s home should be a place of refuge and a place of safety. For some people, when the weather grows colder, the home can become a place of fear, uncertainty and even violence. The City of Chicago Domestic Violence Help Line/Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network director says that an uptick in violence is expected when families are confined in the home for extended periods.

Law enforcement officials have nicknamed this occurrence “cabin fever” and say they get a lot of domestic violence calls because of people getting on each other’s nerves while cooped up. For families with limited resources, cabin fever can be devastating since there usually isn’t enough money for one person to go stay at a hotel to diffuse the situation.

There are some people who believe that the cold weather is only a minor trigger for increased domestic violence. The director of the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire believes that economic factors are more likely to contribute to domestic violence. He thinks that unemployment and other financial difficulties cause stress on a larger level than cold weather, especially when the area is accustomed to cold winters.

The correlation, however, seems real when you consider that the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline and the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network both report increases in usage since the fall. Because of the apparent rise in domestic violence during the cold weather, experts suggest keeping an escape bag ready that includes warm clothing, important records, car keys and other vital items.

Anyone who has been the victim of domestic violence in any situation can seek protection from the abuser. If you need help determining how to get an order of protection, consulting with an experienced Chicago family law attorney may help you learn how to get the protection that could help prevent further abuse.

Source: ABC News, “‘Cabin Fever’ in Cold Weather Can Cause Uptick in Domestic Violence, Experts Say” Susan Donaldson James, Jan. 08, 2014