Local Crisis Shelters Preparing For the Holidays Ahead

(KFSM) — The holidays are right around the corner and while it can be fun for many, for others it comes with added pressure and financial burdens.

Local law enforcement and the LeFlore County Women's Crisis Center talked to us about how to be prepared if faced with domestic violence.

“When you combine financial stress, alcohol consumption, and unrealistic expectations that’s just a ticking time bomb for an explosion,” said Bethany Turner with the Women's Crisis Shelter.

Police say it's difficult to accurately measure trends in domestic violence especially during the holidays.

“For the most from what I’ve seen and read statistically, it’s inclusive as far as an actually uptick in domestic violence during the holidays," said Greg Russell with the Poteau Police Department.

What can be measured is whether there is an increase in victims reaching out for help, by either calling police or accessing support services.

Community Coordinator for the LeFlore County Women's Crisis Center Bethany Turner says there is always a full house around this time of year.

“That stress and all of a sudden we have to buy gifts that we weren’t buying the rest of the year, we have to provide food," Turner said. "It’s cold so the heating bill is way up and maybe someone has lost their job so ya know we are putting a huge strain on a family that was already under stress.”

Turner urges people to offer support for those in a troubled situation and to let them know you are there.

“You can also slip them a card of a service close to them so if they are here in LeFlore County area our card or if they are in the Sebastian County area or Fort Smith shelter. Just make sure they know you’re there because having suppose is the biggest deal,” Turner said.

Poteau Assistant Police Chief Greg Russell wants to remind people to never be afraid to contact your local law enforcement because he says that is what they are there for.

“If they're on the premise of an argument and you think things are going to spin out of control call law enforcement and have us come out to mediate. Maybe separate people before the point where someone might get in trouble,” Russell said.

Police also say if you're looking to donate during this holiday season, crisis shelters are a great place to look.

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