KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – In the past few weeks, there have been several domestic violence incidents across the region. The most recent was a fatal shooting in Cabin Creek on Sunday, Dec. 25, when a family argument resulted in the death of a man.

According to Julie Britton, Director of Resolve Family Abuse Program at YWCA Charleston, cases of domestic violence slightly increase around the holiday season.

“It’s incredibly stressful, people come back together and we know not everybody agrees in families and not all families have the best coping mechanisms,” She said. “Having all of that brought together absolutely can sometimes be … what it takes to have a really violent situation.”

Most of the time, she said, violent situations start with an argument.

Such was the case on Nov. 17, when a Sissonville man allegedly stabbed his brother after they got into an argument over their cats. Also in Sissonville, on Dec. 14, two family members exchanged gunfire following an argument, leaving one man dead.

According to Britton, the combination of domestic violence and guns increases the risk of someone getting hurt by 500%.

“It is a lethality factor that can absolutely not be ignored. Guns in the household of domestic violence – someone is going to get hurt, if not killed.”

If a situation turns violent, she said the best thing to do is walk away.

“Getting physically away from where the violence is happening and if that means into another room, behind a locked door, have your phone with you, call 911, that’s probably the best defense,” Britton said. “De-escalation often isn’t going to work in these situations.”

YWCA offers several resources for domestic violence victims including support groups and counseling. A 24-hour domestic hotline is also available for those in need of assistance.

To find your local YWCA, you can visit the organization’s website.