Academics, psychologists and emergency responders have long debated any link between weather and crime. Any correlation between homicide, rape or burglary and heat is inconclusive and still debated. However, the link between hot temperatures and domestic violence is definitive. There are significantly more cases of domestic violence during hot weather than warm or cool weather.
For decades, research has shown over and over again that the number of domestic violence incidents increase as the weather gets hotter. The definition of “hot” varies by region. In Canada and the UK, domestic violence crimes tend to increase when temperatures reach 27 degrees Celsius (80.6 degrees Fahrenheit). In the Boston area, it seems to correlate to about 85 degrees Fahrenheit. With the recent temperatures around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the police, emergency responders and crisis centers are seeing an increase in service requests.
In addition to the general irritability people feel as a consequence of being hot, the heat causes dehydration at a much faster rate than most people generally drink water. Studies show that working in temperatures in excess of 90 degrees Fahrenheit can cause a person to lose the equivalent of 10 glasses of water. Simply to feel rehydrated, the person would need to drink those 10 glasses of water plus the 6-8 glasses he/she should have on a cool day. Dehydration increases irritability and cause confusion and dizziness which can further aggravate an abuser.
Doctors and scientists agree that heat (especially excessive heat) dramatically lowers serotonin levels in our brains. The serotonin is used by our body to cool it down, but it reduces the amount of this important chemical for the brain to use. This reduced serotonin level causes increased irritability, aggression and depression among other psychological effects that can increase intimate violence.