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Steps to prevent domestic violence

Families in Pennsylvania may agree that domestic disputes or quarrels are common in any household. However, it is a cause of concern when these little disputes get bigger and culminate in domestic violence. The violence may be directed towards a spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend or any other family relation. Sometimes victims tolerate the violence without protesting.

A recent study has revealed that the reported cases of domestic violence decrease considerably over the holidays. This is presumably because victims are willing to tolerate the abuse to avoid spoiling the festive mood or to ensure the safety of children during the holiday season. According to officials, this trend tends to last only until the holiday celebration is over. Studies show increases in victims calling hotlines for help shortly following major holidays.

According to authorities, since the whole family is usually together during the holidays, chances of domestic violence also increase. Officials advise that the victims keep in mind all possible exits from the location of the abuse. In the event of violence, the victim should also have code words established with children who may be able to run to neighbors for help in the event that an incident escalates.

According to authorities, victims should try to avoid having an argument in a confined space with no escapes. Similarly, arguments in unsafe places such as the kitchen should also be avoided. Knives, boiling liquids, and pots and pans can make handy weapons for the abuser.

A victim of domestic violence suffers not only physical abuse, but also faces emotional distress based on his or her close relation with the abuser. It is imperative that the victim protest against the violence and seek help from appropriate authorities.

A victim of domestic violence or spousal abuse may also seek a protection order against the abuser. According to Pennsylvania law, victims need to prove there is a threat of physical harm, harassment or stalking from the abuser in order to obtain an order of protection.

Source: CBS News, "Domestic violence and the holidays: Expert says calls to hotline decrease when victims try to "keep the peace"," Julia Dahl, Nov. 22, 2012

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