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Does Domestic Violence Increase in the Summer?

A lot of things change in the East Bay in the summer. There are fewer gray and cloudy days, more people spend time outside, and kids are out of school. What other things change during the summer? There may be some seasonal patterns in domestic violence calls, including an increase in the summer. In some cases, there may be calls to the police because people are looking for abuse, even if it isn't there. 

Innocent people are accused of domestic violence all the time. It can be hard to defend yourself against claims of domestic battery, especially if you are on your own. If you are arrested for domestic battery in Oakland or the East Bay, an attorney can review your case and represent you in court. Talk to an experienced California criminal defense attorney for help.

Statistics About Domestic Violence in the Summer

According to a special report from the Department of Justice, there are seasonal patterns in some violent crimes, including domestic violence. There are seasonal fluctuations in intimate partner violence, with higher rates of reported abuse during the summer compared to the winter, spring, and fall.  

"Compared to the summer, intimate partner violence was about 12% lower in the winter, 6% lower in the spring, and 9% lower in the fall." This includes domestic violence in general, as well as serious violence involving weapons, and serious violence resulting in injury

Another study published in the journal Science of the Total Environment found an increase in intimate partner violence after a heat wave. According to the study, the risk of police reports increases following a heat wave. The risk of helpline calls also increased for 5 days after a heat wave. 

Why Are There More DV Calls in the Summer?

There could be a lot of reasons why there are more domestic violence calls in the summer. There are theories about why there may be more reports of domestic violence in the summer, including: 

  • High temperatures can cause discomfort and tension
  • Summer heat can force people inside for air conditioning
  • Children at home during the summer can increase stress 
  • More alcohol around summer weekends and holidays
  • Young people out of school experimenting with drugs, alcohol, and relationships

Higher Temperatures Can Raise Tensions

Heat can cause discomfort and with discomfort comes irritability. This can increase bickering, fights, complaints, and physical violence. With global climate change, the summer temperatures appear to be getting hotter in the East Bay. In 2020, the temperature in Oakland got up to 104 degrees, with multiple 100+ days since 2017. In Livermore, the city set a record high with a temperature of 116 degrees in 2022. 

According to the article "Heat and Violence," published by the American Psychological Society, "the heat hypothesis states that hot temperatures can increase aggressive motives and behaviors." Some studies have found that there is a link between temperature and violent crime. Hotter summers can produce bigger increases in violent crimes than cooler summers.  

"Being uncomfortable colors the way people see things. Minor insults may be perceived as major ones, inviting (even demanding) retaliation." This can happen in intimate partner relationships too. One partner may complain about the heat or the lack of a better air conditioner. The other partner could see that as a personal attack for not making enough money to afford better things, leading to a fight that quickly escalates.

Kids at Home Can Increase Stress

Kids are excited for summer when they don't have to go to school. Parents can be less excited. For parents, it can mean more time taking care of an overstimulated child. This can increase stress and conflict in the household. More parents are working remotely from home and having the kids home for the summer can cause tension.  

Idle Time for Young People in the Summer

Teenagers out of school have a lot more free time during the summer. Older teens are usually free to be unsupervised by parents or other adults. Some teens may also have jobs or cars that give them more autonomy to be out on their own during the summer days and nights. Young people may begin experimenting with alcohol, drugs, and dating. Teen domestic violence often begins with high-school-age students. 

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), "Nearly 20.9% of female high school students and 13.4% of male high school students report being physically or sexually abused by a dating partner." The majority of teens surveyed know someone who has been physically, sexually, or verbally abusive to their intimate partner. Much of the teen domestic violence is never reported. 

Drinking More During Summertime Events

Another possible reason for increased domestic disputes during the summer months involves more drinking around the weekends and holidays in California. Holidays like Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Labor Day usually provide 3-day weekends when people can relax with friends and have a few drinks. Weekend events with barbecuing and festivals may also have more drinking during the day. After a day of drinking, alcohol can lower inhibitions, create conflict, and increase fighting between partners. 

What Can You Do If You Are Accused of Domestic Violence?

If you are accused of domestic violence, it can cause immediate harm to your reputation. Many people charged with domestic violence are motivated to go talk to their ex to clear things up. However, you should stay away from the other person involved until you talk to a lawyer. Contacting the other person could mean you will face charges for violating a restraining order

If you are arrested for domestic battery in Oakland or the East Bay, talk to an experienced domestic violence defense attorney for legal advice. Your lawyer can help you avoid serious criminal penalties and defend you in court. Your lawyer may also be able to reduce your penalties and help you avoid jail. 

Lynn Gorelick has more than 39 years of East Bay criminal defense experience and understands how much is at stake after a California domestic battery arrest. She understands how to approach the individual facts of each case for the greatest chance of success to keep her clients out of jail. If you are facing domestic violence charges anywhere in Oakland, Alameda County, or Contra Costa County, contact Lynn Gorelick today

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