Victims of domestic violence face countless challenges, including threats to their physical safety and severe emotional trauma. Many also encounter significant financial hurdles that hinder any flight from an abusive relationship.
Unfortunately, January is an especially vulnerable time for domestic violence victims in Arizona. This is especially true when you look at the risks of displacement and homelessness.
What is displacement?
Displacement refers to instances of abandonment, like when an abusive parent or partner intentionally leaves someone behind without a place to live or a way to get home. Combined with instances where survivors themselves escape violent homes, this increases the number of people who lack shelter.
Why is January so problematic?
As noted in this article on domestic violence and homelessness, domestic abuse support groups and organizations across Arizona see higher rates of domestic violence calls and occurrences of displacement during January. This happens for several reasons.
The holidays often create a honeymoon atmosphere that dissolves into the new year when financial strain or a resurrection of relationship problems occurs. The presence of children (still home on vacation) can add to the chaos, too, and inspire an abusive or controlling person to behave worse than usual.
What victims and supporters can do to help
A safe departure can seem impossible. However, there are ways to get help. A survivor might seek an order of protection or petition for assistance in family court for use of the marital home and financial support. Many survivors find safety in residential shelters or with a concerned friend or family member. It may be wise, too, to consult with an attorney who understands intimate partner violence (not just family law), and does not ridicule or judge past decisions that did not fare well.