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Domestic violence is a problem all year long, but it can be even more intense during the holiday season. More than half of all Californians -- 58 percent -- have been touched by domestic violence at some point in their lives. That's why organizations like Blue Shield of California and others are hoping that individual communities will help address the underlying problems that lead to intimate partner violence.

Right now, the holiday season may be causing problems with domestic violence. While there may not necessarily be more overall incidents of domestic abuse during the holidays, the incidents that do happen can be more violent.

What's the connection between the level of violence in domestic assault and the holidays? It has a lot to do with stress. Domestic abuse is largely about control, and abusers often feel less in control of their lives during the holiday season. Stressors like increased spending, rushed end-of-the-year deadlines at work and the pressure to engage in holiday activities may create an emotional powder keg for some people.

In addition, people are often forced into more contact with each other than usual during the holidays -- which means that there's more opportunity for an explosive reaction to happen. The holidays are also associated with binge drinking, and alcohol tends to fuel violence.

If you're in fear for your safety and that of your children, an attorney can help you obtain an order for protection. This could let you remain in your home while forcing your abuser to leave. There are other legal measures you can also take that may help you escape your current situation.

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