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Domestic violence increases as economy declines

According to a national survey, the number of domestic violence reports has increased since the decline of the economy started. With families in Michigan and across the country experiencing a higher level of stress and anxiety, more arguments come up. In some situations, what starts as an argument about bills or a lost job can spiral out of control and end up with one person facing criminal assault charges.

The study was a look into how economic conditions affect law enforcement. It was discovered that over half of the agencies who responded say reports of domestic conflicts have significantly increased since the financial crisis. Several reasons for why this may be happening are suggested.

Primarily, enforcement officials say that stress is a frequent agitator in many of their calls. People are stressed about losing their job or consumed with worry over how to pay bills after they have lost a job. It is not uncommon for this level of anxiety to push a person to the breaking point.

As troubling as this trend may be, there are ways of handling these types of domestic assault charges. Dealing with the reason for a person's stress or anxiety may be an alternative to jail time. For example, if the reason that a fight escalated between two domestic partners is a manifestation of financial stress, working with a financial or employment professional may help a person solve the acute problem. Rather than a heavy-handed jail sentence or fine, which may not address the root cause of an argument, a person can take part in more helpful counseling sessions.

Alternative solutions to domestic violence charges are a good option for people who are not habitual offenders. Because these charges can have a serious impact on a person's life, it is best to deal with them in the most effective way possible. Rather than risk further jeopardizing future employment or straining finances with a conviction and jail time, a person can work with an attorney to seek a more appropriate outcome.

Source: USA Today, "Domestic violence rises in sluggish economy, police report," Kevin Johnson, April 30, 2012

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