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Helena's Friendship Center: Domestic violence crimes can increase after holiday season

Posted at 6:18 PM, Dec 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-25 18:11:18-05

The holidays are joyous and exciting for many people. But for others -- violence at home is a concern.

As of Friday, 11 of the 13 rooms at the Friendship Center in Helena were full.

Executive director Jenny Eck says many families try to "keep it together" right now.

So despite popular belief, they might actually see a spike"in cases after the holidays.

But she says there are signs you can watch for, if you suspect a loved one is experiencing domestic violence right now.

Those include:

- Unexplained bruises or injuries

- Isolation from family or friends

- Controlling texts or calls from a partner

- Or if a partner embarrasses them in front of loved ones

"When you can get them alone, just saying, "I love you, I'm concerned about you. This behavior isn't like you, whats going on?" And they may not be ready to talk about it, but if you can approach it in a way that has no judgment, no pressure, and just letting them know you care about them and are there to listen, that can open doors for later on. It may not happen right away. For many of us, this is a time of bright and cheer, and being together, and it's not like that for everyone. There are a lot of people for whom this is a dark and difficult time," Eck says.

The Friendship Center has a 24-hour hot-line you can call anytime. That number is 406-442-6800.