Do acts of domestic violence occur more frequently in the summer? In this post, we’ll provide research looking into this very question and let you know how to get help if you are facing charges.
Domestic Violence Over the Summer in Illinois – What We Know and What Experts Think
Evidence is mixed on whether domestic violence increases during the summer months. Let’s look at both the known facts and possible contributing factors.
Facts about domestic violence in summer
Consider these facts about violent crimes over the summer months.
- Both requests for shelter and orders of protection increase during the summer in Quincy, Ill.
- Assaults and murders increase by 2.6 percent during summer in the U.S.
- The hotter the summer, the more incidents of crime that occur.
- A two-degree Fahrenheit shift upward results in nine more assaults or murders among a population of 100,000.
- One study notes that violent crimes increase in summer, when temperatures are hottest, and crime is more frequent in regions with hotter weather. Excessive heat can cause aggression to rise.
If you have been accused of committing domestic violence, some of these factors may play a role in your case.
Possible contributing factors
Scientists think that our physiological response to heat can lead to increased acts of aggression. Excessive heat produces an elevated heart rate and stirs up feelings of hostility and aggression while decreasing feelings of comfort and lowering performance levels.
Some experiments have shown that individuals exposed to excessive heat have skewed impressions in social interactions. They tend to perceive minor infractions as major threats.
Other contributing factors may include the following:
- Increased stress levels since children are home from school during summer months
- More parties and social gatherings with alcohol, which can lead to drunkenness and impaired judgment
- Transition time of summer before settling back into a fall and winter routine – partners may be more likely to instigate a breakup, which results in violence
- Teens are idle in the summer and dating violence may increase, particularly against women between the ages of 16 and 24 years old
- Lack of air conditioning can lead to irritability
It’s unclear whether people are more likely to report domestic violence or if police are more likely to make arrests in summer months. In all cases of domestic violence, the causes are always based on relationship problems, year-round. That’s why you need to take care to avoid getting charged not just in summer, but every season.
Illinois Domestic Violence Laws
Regardless of when they occur, the state of Illinois prohibits acts or threats of violence against family members or members of the same household. The law covers physical threats and acts as well as verbal and emotional abuse.
An act or threat of violence within one of the following relationships may qualify as a domestic violence charge:
- spouses or former spouses
- dating partners or former dating partners
- parents who have a child in common
- a parent and child or stepparent and child
- family members related by blood
- individuals related by blood through a child
- disabled or elderly adult and a caregiver
- current or former roommates in a shared household
Something important to understand is that battery or assault may be charged along with domestic violence. Battery is physical contact that is insulting, unwanted, or provoking, and results in physical harm. Assault is a threat of battery or an attempt of battery that involves imminent danger, though no physical harm may result.
Both battery and assault are intentional crimes. For a conviction to occur, the prosecution must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the offender intended harm to the victim.
Domestic Violence Penalties in Illinois
Domestic battery is a Class A misdemeanor. A conviction could result in up to a year in jail, fines, mandatory counseling, and probation. You may also lose the right to see your children, the right to bear arms, and your employment status could be affected in certain industries.
Domestic battery can be elevated to a Class 4 felony if the act or threat involved sexual assault or the presence of a firearm, or if the victim was a minor. The penalty for a Class 4 felony conviction is one to three years in prison.
If the victim was strangled, or if the act of domestic battery caused permanent disfigurement or disability, the charge will be a Class 2 felony. A conviction will result in a three to seven years in prison with probation.
Additional charges may apply if other crimes such as kidnapping or sexual assault occurred along with domestic battery.
Does domestic violence increase when temperatures rise? The jury is still out. No matter when you are arrested or charged for an alleged incident, though, you need to fight back if you want to reach a positive outcome.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.