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Economic recession may be causing a rise in domestic violence

Last December, we wrote about a Wisconsin woman who allegedly attacked her husband and daughter in a hotel room because she was upset about the Packer's first loss of the season. While this was a somewhat unique case, it shows that incidents of domestic violence can be triggered by many factors.

Personal stress related to work and finances is a major and common trigger of both domestic disturbances and domestic violence. In light of this, it should come as no surprise that law enforcement agencies in Wisconsin and around the country have been responding to more allegations of domestic violence over the last several years.

A recent study suggests that the country's economic recession has sparked an increase in domestic violence, even as overall violence has been declining. The research was conducted by a group called the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).

Researchers in the study surveyed law enforcement agencies around the nation and received about 700 responses. Of these, 56 percent said that they have seen a rise in domestic conflict fueled by the struggling economy. When this same survey was given in 2010, only 40 percent of agencies had reported an increase.

A recent article in USA Today interviews with police chiefs and others who have been witnessing this phenomenon over the last several years. One New Jersey police chief noted: "When stresses in the home increase because of unemployment and other hardships, domestic violence increases. We see it on the street."

A similar sentiment was expressed by the executive director of PERF, which is a think-tank based in Washington. He said: "You are dealing with households in which people have lost jobs or are in fear of losing their jobs. That is an added stress that can push people to the breaking point."

It is certainly understandable that emotions run high when economic times are tough. However, it is important not to let things get out of hand. If you fear that your life stresses could cause you to harm a loved one, you may wish to consider seeking advice from a counselor or an anonymous hotline.

Anyone already facing domestic violence charges may benefit from the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Source: USA Today, "Domestic violence rises in sluggish economy, police report," Kevin Johnson, April 30, 2012

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