Indications are that the coronavirus pandemic is increasing domestic violence [1A].
Arrests for domestic violence rose by 27% in Portland,OR in March. Domestic assault and battery reports rose by 21% in Seattle, WA and 22% in Boston, MA during the same period. The Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline has experienced its highest call volume in 20 years.
“Domestic violence is rooted in power and control, and all of us are feeling a loss of power and control right now.”
-Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of National Domestic Violence Hotline [1B]
With stay-at-home orders in place across the country, the isolation victims typically endure has only been heightened. Fear of infection, job and financial losses exacerbate the stress on victims and abusers alike. The fact that gun sales have spiked is not helping the situation .
Confined to the same home or apartment with their abusers, victims have little opportunity to call for assistance. Some are resorting to the use of code words at pharmacies in an effort to escape their abusers .
With emergency rooms full to overflowing by coronavirus patients, injured victims may be reluctant to seek medical attention. Mental health services, food, and transportation are all at a premium.
Battered women’s shelters are either full or operating at reduced capacity to assure social distancing. In some states, courts are now granting temporary restraining orders remotely.
Neighbors are encouraged to contact police, if they suspect that domestic abuse is occurring. We must all care for one another, especially at this difficult time.
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-422-4453
National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-4673
Crisis Text Line text HOME to 741741
Dept. of Health and Human Services/Office of Women’s Health (domestic violence resources by state) https://www.womenshealth.gov/relationships-and-safety/get-help/state-resources
[1A and 1B] CNN, “Some cities see jumps in domestic violence during the pandemic” by Casey Tolan, 4/4/20, https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/04/us/domestic-violence-coronavirus-calls-cases-increase-invs/index.html.
 New York Times, “About 2 Million Guns Were Sold in the US as Virus Fears Spread” by Keith Collins and David Yaffe-Bellany, 4/1/20, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/01/business/coronavirus-gun-sales.html.
 CNN c/o News 7 Boston, “Women are using code words at pharmacies to escape domestic violence during coronavirus lockdown”, 4/6/20, https://whdh.com/news/women-are-using-code-words-at-pharmacies-to-escape-domestic-violence-during-coronavirus-lockdown/.
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