Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Sioux Falls, SD: Holiday Stress Can Lead to Domestic Violence

Christmas Day turned into a hostage situation, standoff and apparent suicide in Vermillion.

According to police, it seems to have started when a woman reported a domestic dispute.  Police say the suspect, the woman's husband, was behind the 12 hour standoff. He was an armed man who held his two children against their will in the home.  He let his children go around 4:30 a.m. but was later found dead in his house.

Officers say it began when the suspect's wife reported a domestic dispute.

"Domestic violence is never a rare or isolated incident. It's usually a pattern that happens in a cycle," Compass Center Executive Director Patty Brooks said.

It may seem like there is more domestic violence during the holidays, there is actually no increase. However, the cases she does see this time of year are usually more violent.

"Holiday stressors like holiday shopping, finances, meal prep and gift giving and that kind of thing like the family, basically adds fuel to the fire," Brooks said.

The number of cases reported actually seems to decrease during the holidays, but that is not necessarily an indicator of a shrinking trend.

"They [families] want to get through the holidays. They want their kids to have a Merry Christmas, they want to get along with their families, so a lot of times they will push that under the rug," Brooks said.

In fact, the Compass Center's case load is two to three times larger than it was a few years ago.
Anything can push a violent person over the edge and Brooks said it is important to know the triggers, especially during stressful times of the year.

"It seems very silly, but the timeouts, the taking a deep breath, the counting to 10.  Leaving the situations are all really good things if you feel that's happening to you," Brooks said.

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