NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The holiday season often brings a reported increase in domestic violence incidents.
The Family Safety Center said they see a spike in clients this time of year.
“Just looking at our numbers from 2021, we saw about 500 people coming in November, and that increased to a little over 1,200 in December,” said Heather Herrmann, Assistant Director of Education & Strategic Initiatives at the Nashville-Davidson County Office of Family Safety.
The number of women seeking help from the Family Safety Center for domestic violence more than doubled between November and December of last year.
“Even during this time of year that we tend to think of as about love, togetherness, and family, there are still people who are experiencing domestic violence. People who are still going home and living in fear in situations they can’t control,” Herrmann said.
The Family Safety Center has already seen an increase in clients since Thanksgiving and expects that rise to only grow.
“I think we often think about domestic violence as something that happens to other people and to other families, and the reality is that it happens incredibly often. Chances are that somebody who’s around your Christmas table or your holiday table may have experienced it or may be experiencing it,” Herrmann said.
Herrmann said alcohol, financial pressures, and being cooped up together for long periods all contribute to a rise in domestic abuse this time of year.
“Being open to having those conversations and being open to being a safe person who can point someone in the right direction toward help could save someone’s life,” she said.
If you find yourself in an abusive situation and are looking to get out, or if you want to help someone get out of one, Herrmann recommends making a plan. Leaving can often be the most dangerous time, so coming up with a safety plan is critical.
“If you have to travel with a perpetrator, I think it’s important to make sure that a safe person knows your agenda, they know where you’re going and how to get in touch with you. That you are memorizing people’s phone numbers so that you don’t have to rely on a cell phone in case you get stranded somewhere. I think just remembering this time of year that you’re not alone,” Herrmann said.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a domestic violence situation, contact the Office of Family Safety for additional resources.