November 27, 2006
Police often see an increase in domestic violence over the holidays. This weekend was no exception as authorities responded to several calls.
The holidays are supposed to be a time for family. Sometimes however, spending too much time with family can lead to violence.
Charlottesville Police say there were about a dozen domestic incidents over the holiday weekend. Michael Jackson was arrested on Valley Road for allegedly stabbing his estranged girlfriend with scissors. Grandmother Elisha Washington was arrested for allegedly punching her pregnant daughter in the face.
Police from Charlottesville to Louisa County said they respond to more domestic calls than any other call.
“In general, domestic calls are our number one call,” said Lt. Andy Trice with the Louisa County Sheriff’s Department.
And, right around the holidays those numbers go up. Family members who don't see each other 364 days out of the year get together and things sometimes get out of control.
Trice added, “People probably do a little more drinking and get into the holiday spirit. But sometimes, they get cabin fever and the next thing you know someone says something wrong,” and someone ends up calling 911. Albemarle County said they help about 15 victims of domestic violence each week.
Sandra Abbott of the Albemarle County Victim Witness Assistance Program tells victims of domestic abuse, “You’re not alone. Domestic violence happens everywhere and there are people that can help them.”
Those who help victims suggest you walk away from a bad situation and if you are in danger call 911 immediately. Victims can also get a court order to keep an offender at a safe distance. However, often victims tell police they don't want to see their abuser go to jail, which is why domestic violence can be a vicious cycle of abuse.
If you need help there are several agencies you can turn to:
-The Shelter for Help in Emergency Hotline is 434-293-8509 or office is 434-293-6155.
-Family Violence and Sexual Assault 24-hour Hotline is 1-800-838-8238.
-Victim Witness Assistance programs provide information on available legal options and can assist victims with getting a protective order.