Domestic violence on the rise in the U.P. during winter, holiday season

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Domestic Violence graphic(Hawaii News Now)
Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 11:24 AM EST
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - U.P. law enforcement and women’s organizations shared their experiences with domestic violence cases in the winter months, and are encouraging everyone to check in on family and friends.

In Escanaba, Tri-County Safe Harbor said staff sees an increase in domestic violence victims during the winter.

“They [staff] tell me that January and February they kind of dread because it does get pretty busy, both in the shelter and our outreach offices,” Tri-County Safe Harbor Executive Director Erin Viau said.

Viau said there are multiple factors behind the increase.

“Being cooped up in a house with someone who is a perpetrator and who uses violence as a tactic to control is pretty difficult. There’s also a lot of stress during the holidays and things that come up this time of year,” Viau said.

In fact, Viau said the shelter saw 8 women and 6 children in the month of December.

“That is a lot. We are just a 15-bed shelter. And they’ve been there for a while because housing is such an issue,” Viau said.

Meanwhile, Marquette County Sheriff Greg Zyburt said although his deputies don’t get a direct increase in domestic violence calls in the winter, the holidays can be a difficult time.

“I think it is associated with holidays. A lot of the time it has to do with people drinking and on drugs,” Zyburt said.

Zyburt encourages people to be vigilant in looking for domestic abuse signs.

“Someone who is bruised or is not the same person that they used to be, very quiet about the home life. Sometimes that is suggestive that it might be domestic violence,” Zyburt said.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a domestic violence crisis, you can contact the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or contact local law enforcement.