Domestic Violence During COVID-19

domestic violence COVID-19
Glenn Heights Police Chief Vernell Dooley said to anyone in an abusive relationship "call us."

Domestic Violence Numbers Increase In Some Cities

GLENN HEIGHTS – There has been much conversation about domestic violence increasing during the shelter-in-place orders over the last month. While some people might be discovering they enjoy their other half 24/7, there are still those men, women and children who were possibly abused before the shelter-in-place order who are really struggling now.

In some cases, the abuse might be going unnoticed with the abused person not knowing what to do to get away.

While some police departments said they did not see an increase in abuse, others said they did.

Apparently, it all depends on the reports and the numbers, but the most important thought to remember is if you are being abused you can get away from your home. even with Safe Home Stay Safe orders in place, you can get away. And, there is still somewhere to go.

Glenn Heights Experiences Increase In Domestic Disturbances

Glenn Heights Police Chief Vernell Dooley said “In the month of March, we experienced a 93% increase in the report of family related disturbances. We’re responding to these disturbances and taking any appropriate enforcement that is necessary. Additionally, we are recommending counseling services to families and making them aware of several resources for them.”

Dooley said too that not all calls result in an arrest – sometimes it might just be frustration at the current situation.

On the Glenn Heights PD Facebook page, they have posted:

Right now (and probably for quite a while) we are all going to be spending more time in close quarters with our families and loved ones. While the threat of COVID-19 is being added to our daily concerns, it is understandable that stress levels will increase. In the interest of keeping everyone safe, your Glenn Heights Police Department would like to offer some resources for help if those stresses and pressures are getting out of control. Consider the following 24-hour, cost-free sources of prevention and other help:

National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-422-4453

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233

National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255

We will all get through this! In the meantime, know that your Glenn Heights Police Department remains on-duty 24 hours a day to help you as needed.

And Dooley added “The advice I’d give to anyone in an abusive relationship is…please call us! We’re here to help.”

The city’s Domestic Violence Shelter is still helping through Glenn Heights Police Department Victim Services too. Local resources for Domestic Violence victims include:

Family Abuse Center (shelter)                    1-800-283-8401

Healing Hearts Center (counseling)          1-800-828-7893

Other Cities Domestic Violence Stats

Ellis County Sheriff Chuck Edge says his department has not seen an increase in domestic violence. However, he advises anyone who is being abused to call for help.

City of Lancaster Police Chief Samuel Urbanski said in that city in the last two weeks there has been a total of seven domestic assault reports taken. The same two-week period last year there were 19 reports. This month to date there have only been five domestic assault reports.

“We have not seen increased numbers of domestic violence in the City of Lancaster since the Shelter-in-Place orders due to COVID-19,” Chief Urbanski said. “We will continue to monitor any rise in crime, and as always domestic violence cases are taken very seriously by our department. Any person of any age is encouraged to contact the department if he or she is being abused or violated not only during the current Shelter-in-Place orders, but at any time a crime is committed.”

Domestic Abuse Shelters say they have seen an increase

Amber Ifeanyi, Director of Business Operations at A Woman Called Moses said they have seen a dramatic increase for emergency shelter due to the COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place Order.

“Due to families having to be sequestered together with limited opportunities for another community outlet such as work, school, church, etc. tensions have increased in homes that  may have already been experiencing volatility leading to an even more abusive home environment,” Ifeanyi explained. “There has definitely been an increase of various types of abuse such as chaining the refrigerator to restrict access to food, locking women and children in one room, so that they cannot leave the home for any reason, more threats with weapons and firearms as a means of isolation and control.”

The types of domestic violence that the Women Called Moses Coalition has seen an increase of calls from are women with children. Especially multiple children (three or more) who are now at home full-time as well as women with teenage boys.

Ifeanyi said as an example, they recently placed a case where there were three boys, and two of the three were autistic.

“We are providing shelter for this family, and the assigned case manager is working to help the mother seek services for these children while they are outside of their home and school district where they once were able to receive services. These are very complex and challenging times for many families,” she explained.

Ifeanyi said they always tell people if they have access to a phone to directly call 911 if they are in an emergency. Other advice they provide includes if they choose to stay in the home, to be sure to stay connected daily to friends and family.

“Make sure you have a personal emergency contact with those outside of your home through text, a phone call or social media. It can be someone that you would ordinarily speak with like your coworker, sister, brother or best friend,” she recommends. “Be sure that those closest to you have your physical address and have a code word or code message between you, so if you say/type the code word or post about a specific topic on Facebook or other social media, your emergency contact can send help directly to your residence.”

Women Called Moses

Women Called Moses offers a SAFE NIGHT program that works at the intersection of homelessness and domestic violence for women and children. They place families in hotels for an extended period and utilize a mobile case management model where the Case Managers work with the clients directly in the hotels.

They also offer family counseling, legal advocacy, and resources to assist in acquiring permanent housing, educational services and employment if needed. Transportation is also provided to clients who need assistance in their search for housing and employment.

The coalition has been around 17 years helping women and children with complex circumstances from emergency crisis to stability, independence, and freedom through our various programs, community resources, and coalition building efforts.

Ifeanyi concluded “Women Called Moses needs people to donate funds to our Organization for us to be able to help more families. To donate one safe night is $75 and that covers housing, food, and transportation costs. A large percentage of the population we serve are minorities and are disproportionately more likely to be homeless, have housing instability, have disabilities and are unemployed or underemployed. Our case population has been dealing with these issues before COVID-19, so this pandemic has just added even more stress to an already dire situation for these families.”

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