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Summer is supposed to be the best time of year, but it turns out that this season can bring out the worst in some people. Colorado sees an uptick in violent crimes over the summer months each year — especially domestic violence.
A number of factors may contribute to this increase. Below, we’re going to review why domestic violence tends to increase over the summer months, and what you can do to protect yourself.
Interestingly, research has shown that violent crime increases during warm weather, regardless of the season. One Drexel University study recently reported crimes were highest during the warmest months of the year, May through September, and highest on the hottest days during these months.
This indicates that incidents not only surge in the summer but also during unseasonable warm spells in the winter and early spring. But why?
Sometimes the effect is attributed to changes in social behavior. For example, when the weather is pleasant, more people are outside, presenting more opportunity for crime. Still, when temperatures are uncomfortably warm and many people stay inside to avoid the heat, violent crime is still high.
Although the exact reasons behind the effects of warm weather on violent behavior aren’t yet known the social link is clear. So let’s look further into those social factors that likely come into play…
Several social factors specific to summer time cause our proximity to decrease, which may partly explain this increase in losing our tempers:
Kids Out of School: Over the summer months, kids are out of school, and have more time on their hands. If things are already rocky at home, this can increase tension and lead to domestic violence episodes.
Travel: Although the intention of a family vacation is to unwind, this isn’t always the case. Travel is stressful, particularly with young children.
Life Transitions: Summer is a transition time for some families. Couples may be making decisions about where they want themselves and their children to be before the beginning of the school year. This means that breakups increase this time of year, which can lead to an escalation of domestic violence.
Summer Events: Events such as weddings and parties often lead to increased domestic violence. People are likely to drink during these events, and social pressures may also spark arguments.
Free time during the summer presents ample opportunity for both drug and alcohol use, and the links between alcohol and domestic violence are proven.
In fact, two-thirds of domestic violence victims report that their abusers have been drinking at the time of the incident. Alcohol increases violent, impulsive behavior and lowers inhibitions, which can encourage domestic abuse.
Other drugs, such as marijuana and methamphetamines, can increase paranoia and aggressive behavior, also contributing to domestic violence.
Just as we see an uptick in alcohol and drug consumption (and in turn, in domestic violence) over the winter holidays, summertime celebrations like Memorial Day and July 4th are often involved with copious amounts of alcohol, too. Barbeques and outdoor parties are also occasions that lead to drinking and drug use.
If you’re in an abusive relationship where domestic violence is or could become a concern, it’s important to be especially safe over the summer months.
Leaving the relationship may be ideal. If you feel you’re ready, contact your local women’s shelter to get help creating an exit plan. These organizations are able to protect women leaving violent relationships, and have the resources to help you do so.
If you’re not yet ready or able to leave an abusive relationship, have a safety plan:
Unfortunately, the statistics tell the truth: Domestic abuse is absolutely more likely in the summer. Therefore, it’s important to be on the lookout and stay safe if you’re at risk for domestic violence.
If you have fallen victim to domestic abuse, and are now seeking legal advice, an experienced Colorado domestic violence attorney can help you understand your options and next steps.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.