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National and local statistics report low domestic violence rates - KOAM TV 7

National and local statistics report low domestic violence rates in December

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With the increased amount of family-time during the holidays, many expect the number of domestic violence cases to increase as well.

However, both national and local numbers show that isn't the case.

According to statistics from the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the number of calls during Christmas tends to be significantly less than on an average day.

Officials at the Joplin Police Department say they too have seen a downward trend during Christmas-time.

"The month of December actually has less domestic violence than any other month reported to us," said Corporal Andy Blair, Joplin Police Department.

Blair says that is the trend they have seen over the past five years, with November and January also continuously low, and the highest number of reports seen during the summer months.

"It's something we deal with and that people have to deal with daily," he said.  "We're constantly responding to it, but it hasn't gone up or changed in the last few years."

The crisis hotline at Freeman's Ozark Center, as well as other local agencies, say their December numbers are also down.

"It's really hard to leave and come to a shelter right before Christmas and not know how it's going to be for your kids," said Rebekah Oehring, clinical director at Lafayette House in Joplin.

Oehring says Christmas may, in fact, be one reason why December numbers are so low.

However, she expects the number of calls to their shelter to be on the rise as the new year begins, due to holiday over-spending.

"When the bills come due in January, they don't have the money to pay the bills and that increases stress," Oehring said.

No matter how high or low the demand at a given time of year, the Lafayette House and Joplin Police constantly work together.

"It's something that one group is not going to fix," Blair said. "It's going to take all of us to help the people that need it."

"The numbers go up and down at different times, but there is a consistent need year-round," Oehring said.

Statistics from the Joplin Police Department show that this December currently has the lowest number of domestic violence reports than any other month recorded in the past five years.
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