RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)– The holiday season is marked as a time of joy, but for those experiencing domestic violence, it can escalate an already bad situation.
YWCA Richmond — a social services organization that provides support to survivors of sexual and domestic violence — reported that they see a rise in domestic abuse every holiday season due to the financial impact the time of year can have on families.
“Oftentimes, because there’s more family in town, visitors coming. The idea that you might not be able to send the kids to school because of the break and that leads to increased violence in the home for some people in our community,” Rupa Murthy, CEO of YWCA Richmond, said.
Some law enforcement agencies have also said they tend to receive more domestic violence calls around the holidays.
In Hanover county, the Sheriff’s Office said they received 33 domestic-related calls during Thanksgiving week from Nov. 19 to Nov. 25. That’s higher than the 18 calls they received the week before.
In 2022, the Hanover Sheriff’s Office received 25 domestic-related calls during Thanksgiving week, and 16 the week prior.
In 2023, Chesterfield County Police Department saw a reduction in domestic-related calls during Thanksgiving week — with 166 calls received in comparison to their weekly average of 184 calls.
Last year, Chesterfield County police saw an increase in domestic-related calls as they received 187 calls during the 2022 Thanksgiving week — which is slightly higher than their weekly average of 181.5 calls that year.
Henrico police received 13 reports of domestic assault in 2023, and 19 reports of domestic assaults in 2022.
Richmond police reported 236 domestic-related calls during Thanksgiving week in 2023, and 247 in 2022.
“We receive about 400 calls from Richmond police every year to be able to support survivors of violence. We also receive over 1600 calls a year from survivors themselves asking for support,” Murthy said.
YWCA Richmond has a 24/7 crisis hotline for those needing connections to resources and can help folks with escape plans and de-escalation tips.
“We can provide shelter, provide some support and assistance in safety planning, transportation to get to that safe place,” Murthy added.