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Raising Awareness of Domestic Violence During the Holidays

Photo: One in four women in North Carolina will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Courtesy: East Carolina University
Photo: One in four women in North Carolina will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Courtesy: East Carolina University
November 21, 2013

RALEIGH, N.C. – The holidays are a time when many strive to put on a good face for family gatherings and festivities, but what's happening behind closed doors for an estimated one in four North Carolina women is still of concern to domestic-violence support groups.

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, calls drop by 50 percent during the holidays, but that doesn't mean there's not trouble at home, says Dana Mangum with the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCCADV).

She says domestic violence homicides increased from 106 in 2011 to 122 in 2012.

"The numbers of people who do use shelter services, those numbers continue to increase,” she adds. “So it's a social issue that is not going away and seems to be increasing as well. "

Mangum reminds people in a threatening relationship that there is free help available for temporary shelter, legal assistance and counseling.

Information on local shelters can be found by calling 1-888-799-SAFE (7233).

Mangum also says that while advice to victims of domestic violence is often to stand up to their abuser, sometimes quietly seeking help through local shelters and trusted friends is the safest option.

"Many times people stand up for themselves and then experience some type of blow-back as a result of that,” she says. “So that's why it's so important that they have people that they can trust in their life, advocates they can talk to."

Mangum adds there were no cuts to domestic violence program funding in this year's state budget, but state tax cuts and increased spending in other areas will continue to put pressure on the budget.

Reporting for this story by North Carolina News Connection in association with Media in the Public Interest. Media in the Public Interest is funded in part by Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

Stephanie Carson/Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC