SACRAMENTO, CA - Experts say the holidays aren't the cause of spousal abuse, but they do serve as the tipping point for people already on the edge.
Every possible risk factor is in play these days: The economy, the jobless rate and home foreclosures. Add in the holidays which can add stress and incidents of domestic abuse can escalate this time of the year.
"One of the things that happens often is that people don't reach out because they think it's a family time and they ought to be staying together during the holidays. But we know that if you're staying together and it's a violent situation that's not necessarily the best thing for the family and the children," said Margaux Rooney with Women Escaping a Violent Environment.
Abuse experts say coping with domestic violence means knowing how to head off volatile situations:
"Just stay as calm as possible and have a safety plan for if things do get out of hand: What they're going to do, safe places to go, what they can bring with them, a place for the children to be. So that they know they'll be taken care of if things escalate," Rooney advised.
Signs of a potentially abuse spouse might be someone who's very controlling or jealous. In many cases behavior patterns are already in place.
Most cities have crisis hotlines where people can share their problems; there are even shelters. The National Domestic Violence Hotline and website are good places to go if you don't know where the one in your city is located.
Capitol Television News Service and News10/KXTV