Domestic violence calls increase locally, nationwide during COVID-19 pandemic

Published: Apr. 16, 2020 at 7:54 AM CDT
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Stay at home orders issued across the country to stop the spread of COVID-19 were designed to keep people safe from the virus. But, some people are still at risk of being harmed.

The Family Justice Center in Pineville says since Gov. Edwards ordered citizens to stay home in March, domestic abuse-related calls have increased at their center.

"Domestic violence rates go up when families spend more time together," Carly Long, Executive Director of the Family Justice Center said.

It's the same nationwide. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is also reporting a surge in calls from victims.

Long says their physical office is closed because of the coronavirus, but their staff are working remotely to access the increase in cases. The center can help with sheltering needs, hygiene products and much more.

Long says during this time one warning sign not to ignore is a dating partner that is controlling.

"This can make the atmosphere more heated and toxic which could lead to further abuse," she said.

Abusers could greatly impact their victim's safety during the pandemic. The National Hotline says abusers could hide essential items like hand sanitizer or disinfectants. Also, they could prevent a survivor from seeking medical attention.

"Even during this lockdown period, you have other options available."

Long says anyone in need should call their center (318-448-0884). Also, the center can help with legal issues. Although courts are closed, protective orders are an exception.

The number to the National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233.

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