GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — During December, domestic violence agencies see more people coming for help.

Those who walk through the doors are at a point where their lives are in serious danger.

It takes courage to admit you’re a victim of violence. On Wednesday, 54 people showed that strength by going the Family Justice Center in High Point, hoping to live a safer life.

This month, 848 people needed the same support in Guilford County. This year, more than 12,700 men, women and children were physically, sexually or emotionally abused.

Many of the domestic violence cases are because of family feuds.

“We have seen an uptick in family violence-related homicides, so a son killing their father or domestics like that,” said Catherine Johnson, director of the Guilford County Family Justice Center.

In 2021, the number of domestic violence cases between family members and intimate partners was split evenly. This year, the balance shifted. Experts have seen more violence between blood relatives.

In the past week, FOX8 has reported on two cases in the Piedmont Triad. On Monday, High Point police arrested 21-year-old Tyshaune Bethea. Officers said he killed his stepfather at a home on Westgate Drive after the two got into an argument.

“People think that domestic violence just happens to poor families or individuals with limited resources, but we know this can happen to anyone, and we see that here at the family justice center on a daily basis,” Johnson said.

 Johnson said isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic is partially to blame for the uptick.

“Violence and abuse breeds in isolation,” she said. “We know that for folks coming in, there’s just a higher percentage of folks experiencing mental health crises in addition to safety crises.”

In the eight years Johnson has served as director of the Family Justice Center, she has witnessed the harm over the holidays getting more personal.

“The intensity of what’s happening with individuals is much more significant,” she said.

The center she runs helps hundreds of people a month escape violent situations. She said our awareness is important in protecting victims.

“One in three women and one in eight men will be impacted in their lifetime, so it really is a public health issue that we should all be responsible in being activated to respond if we see something that’s not right,” Johnson said.

If you or someone you know feels they’re in a toxic relationship, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.