Many of us are making plans to reunite with our families and celebrate the holidays, but for some this time of year can be stressful and may lead to domestic incidents.
Data from the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence shows there could be a link between domestic violence and the holidays.
Several factors, including family conflict, financial pressure and alcohol and drug use, contribute to the spike in domestic violence cases.
Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliot said while other agencies report higher numbers nationally, that isn't the case in Jonesboro.
“We start seeing an increase in February and March. So it's running a little bit higher during the spring months,” said Chief Elliot.
He said there have been nearly 650 reported cases this year.
“My concern is during the holidays, there may be more going on and sometimes it may not be reported,” Elliot said.
Chief Elliot said it's important for domestic violence victims to seek help to get them out of those situations.
Elliot said any injury to a partner, spouse or household member does fall under domestic violence.
Many people may generally assume that the offender in this case is a male, but Elliot said domestic violence goes both ways.
Elliot also said there are several organizations, churches and other services available to victims of domestic violence.
“It may not be one of those things you want to talk about with family and friends," he said. "It may be embarrassing that you're being victimized. I think it's important to reach out to your family and say hey, this is going on, just to let you know.”
He said one of the biggest mistakes people make is deciding to get involved when it's too late.
Chief Elliot also said it's a community effort.
“Being a part of a community is getting involved in the community. If there are things going on that need to be addressed then please address them,” he said.
Chief Elliot also gave out some safety tips for anyone who may be in a bad situation.
1. Have necessary numbers on speed dial in your phone and write them down.
2. Have a safe word/ phrase for emergency situations
3. Have an escape plan
4. Defuse the situation if possible
5. Download a safety app if you have a smartphone
6. Keep your phone charged and have cash on you at all times
7. Arrange a safe spot with a friend or family member in case of emergency