Domestic violence reports spiked this month, with an average of three or four calls a night, according to police.
Police said 12 domestic violence incidents were reported over one weekend this month. Last weekend, police arrested two men and one woman in separate domestic incidents between Dec. 16 and 19.
In a statement to the press, police said domestic violence reports are up 44 percent so far this month compared to the same time last year.
“We are getting tons of service calls,” police spokeswoman Jacqueline Carpenter said in an interview Wednesday.
Police Deputy Commissioner Kurt Walton said by email, “Domestic disturbances can be some of the most difficult and unpredictable calls for front line officers to respond to. People are emotional and not behaving rationally. Responding to and preventing domestic violence is one of our key tasks in our role to protect the community – but we urge people to get help before situations escalate to the point where police intervention is needed.”
Ms. Carpenter highlighted resources like the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre and the Family Resource Centre.
“Some of the increase in incidents this month can be accounted for by an increase in reporting, perhaps, but it is also common for us to see more women seeking a safe place at this time of year,” Cayman Islands Crisis Centre Director Ania Milanowska said in a statement.
“Tensions about finances can run high during the holiday season. What is critical for both partners to know – or at least be willing to learn – is how to de-escalate these situations and get help when needed,” she said.
Police say they have made 49 referrals to the Family Support Unit this month, but those referrals can come from any police interactions with the public, not just from responding to domestic violence reports.
Detective Sergeant Michelle Miller, acting head of the Family Support Unit, said in the police statement, “It is important to remember that domestic violence refers to any violent or aggressive behavior within the home between partners or family members.
“Sometimes men or older relatives are victims. Whatever happens in the home and whoever the abuser may be, it is children who witness abuse and can be the most scarred by it. We must be aware of all the forms that domestic violence can take if we are to address it or prevent it.”
Police reported 160 domestic violence incidents so far this year, up from 111 in the same period last year. Ms. Carpenter said not all reports of domestic violence end up being actual incidents, but both are on the rise this year.
The Cayman Islands Crisis Centre has a 24-hour hotline, 943-2422. The Family Resource Centre can be reached at 949-0006 during business hours.