There is a common myth that domestic violence spikes around the holidays. The holidays can be stressful for many and stress may come out in violence. However, there does not seem to be evidence of an increase in calls to domestic abuse hotlines around Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year's Day. Continuing the unsubstantiated claim that domestic violence increases over the holidays could lead to false charges.
Allegations of abuse or domestic battery are very serious. The penalties associated with domestic abuse crimes can go far beyond simple jail time and fines. A conviction for domestic battery in California can impact immigration status, gun ownership rights, and child custody. If you have been accused of violence towards a spouse or partner, talk to an experienced East Bay criminal defense lawyer for help.
Domestic Violence Calls Are Generally Lower
According to a report from the National Domestic Violence Hotline, domestic violence reports received between Thanksgiving until New Years Day in 2013 averaged 570 calls per day, which is below the average call per day rate of 675 in 2013. In 2015, there were 12% fewer domestic abuse calls during the holiday period compared to the rest of the year.
In 2016, the National Domestic Violence Hotline received an average of 829 calls per day. However, for the holidays, the calls were much lower at:
- 486 calls on Thanksgiving
- 531 calls on Christmas Eve
- 560 calls on Christmas Day
- 634 calls on New Year's Eve
This does not necessarily mean domestic violence is down over the holidays but the hotline call numbers are generally lower over these days.
Domestic Violence With Lockdowns
The holidays this year will look different than holidays in the past because of COVID-19. Travel and family gatherings are discouraged as the virus continues to impact California and the rest of the country. Lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, and shutting down businesses may increase stress and could make it more difficult for victims of abuse to get help.
When the coronavirus first hit, there was a reported increase in domestic violence in China. According to an NBC news article, some police departments have also reported a rise in domestic violence calls after COVID-19 lockdowns. Of 22 law enforcement agencies that responded to the reporter, 18 reported a rise in domestic violence calls during March.
Mandatory Arrest After a Domestic Violence Call
Innocent people can end up under arrest because of California's policy on DV arrests. If an officer has probable cause to think someone has “abused” a spouse, partner, or family member, then the officer is encouraged to make an arrest. Even if the alleged victim claims that there was no abuse or the alleged victim was the perpetrator, the police may still end up arresting an innocent person.
After a Domestic Battery Arrest
If you end up under arrest after someone reports domestic violence in Alameda or Contra Costa County, make sure you understand your rights before you take a plea deal. With over 37 years of criminal defense experience, Lynn Gorelick understands how the prosecutor will try and get a guilty plea even if you are innocent. Contact Gorelick Law Offices today.