Can “cabin fever” cause domestic violence and abuse?

Let’s be clear—there is absolutely no excuse for domestic violence and family abuse. Although abusers often like to blame others and other circumstances for their outbursts and behavior, it is ultimately their hand that causes the violence.

With that being said, there are circumstances and situations that have been linked to higher rates of domestic violence – factors that can increase the likelihood of abuse. For example, domestic violence has been correlated with drugs and alcohol, financial stress, past abuse, and unemployment.

Although no formal studies have been conducted regarding the relationship between winter weather and domestic violence, many agree that there is a connection between being cooped up in the home during winter and family abuse incidents. Some domestic abuse hotlines have reported up to a 20 percent increase in calls during the winter months and snowstorms, while authorities in the United Kingdom have reported an uptick in domestic violence calls during heavy rains.

Experts say that abuse connected with winter weather and cabin fever probably comes about simply because family members are contained in a small space with little opportunity for escape. Abusers may not have a way to release their anger, while abuse victims may not have a way to escape from the home when tempers start to flare.

If you believe you may be in danger of violence or abuse during the winter months, you should know that there are a number of resources available to you in Washington State and the Seattle area. Please visit our domestic violence resources to learn more about who can help. 

Molly B. Kenny's Bellevue family law office is conveniently located on Lake Bellevue Drive, making it easily accessible to those in the greater Seattle area. Our divorce and child custody lawyers help men and women get the information, guidance, and compassionate representation they need.
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