The holidays often are referred to as the best time of the year. It is a time for loved ones, celebration and joy. However, for victims of domestic violence, the holidays can be a very dark and scary time. Unrealistic expectations, financial pressures and the increased consumption of alcohol can raise stress levels, which can contribute to incidents of domestic violence. Before the holidays, it is important to set realistic expectations and realize that things may not go as planned. Domestic violence is more likely to occur when stress levels are high.
If you find that yourself involved in an episode of domestic violence, it is important to have a safety kit in case you have to quickly exit a dangerous situation. This kit should include emergency numbers; a bag of clothing and toiletries; important documents, such as birth certificates and a driver’s license; prescriptions and medication; car keys; house keys; and cash — all hidden in a safe, easy-to-access place.
Below are some tips to help keep you safe:
• National Domestic Violence Hotline, 800-799-7233
• The local domestic violence shelter helpline where you will be spending Christmas.
• The number of a close friend, co-worker or family member who can be on standby to get you out of the situation or act as witness.
Following these suggestions — often known as a safety plan — can’t guarantee your safety, but it could help make you safer. If you need help creating a safety plan, call the Centre County Women’s Resource Center’s 24-hour hotline at 877-234-5050.