Domestic Violence and the Holidays

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Two murder-suicide cases in just two days in Walton County are turning a harsh light on the domestic violence.

Panama city's local domestic violence hotline generally gets 200 calls a month. During the holiday season that numbers doubles.

This past Friday a DeFuniak Springs man shoots his daughter and critically wounds his wife before turning the gun on himself.

The following day authorities respond to a call in the Black Creek area of Walton County to find a man dead and a woman with gunshot wounds to the head.

For two days in a row, Walton County deputies respond to cases involved death and domestic violence.

Cpt. Danny Glydewell with the Walton County Sheriff's Department says, "Unfortunately the holiday season brings an increase both in domestic violence and suicide."

Capt. Danny Glydewell from the Walton County Sheriff's Office says these episodes of domestic violence happen frequently this time of year.

"Every law enforcement officer generally expects to see these kinds of things happen during the holidays."

On the average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day nationwide. During the holidays the numbers spike.

Dr. Brent Decker Ph.D., a family psychologist, says, "During the holidays there's a great deal of financial pressure on families often to buy gifts for wives and for children. Also it's a time that issues of depression sometimes pass and trauma issues get brought up."

Family psychologist Brent Deckers says you should consider these tips to avoid the stress of the holidays. Share the responsibilities, often times mom gets stuck with dinner and the cleanup.

Prepare ahead of time, know who's coming over and how many. Talk to your children. They're used to a routine let them know what to expect.

Give yourself person space. Take a walk to get a breather when it needed. Communicate your feelings. If you’re away from home or miss a dead relative, talk about it, and most important, avoid worrying. Remember what the holidays are really all about.

"I think it's very important that we concentrate on spending time with family rather than having to get the Thanksgiving dinner out just at the right time."

Alcohol or drug abuse can play a part in domestic violence, however, the vast majority of men who batter their partners also do so when not under the influence of alcohol.

If you or someone you know is frightened about something in your relationship, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).