The government response to the Coronavirus pandemic – lockdowns, stay-at-home orders and business closures – has had an unintended consequence: a rise in domestic violence reports. According to city and county officials, since the onset of the pandemic, the number of domestic violence cases have exceeded those of 2019. In the month of March alone, there was an 18% increase in family violence-related calls compared to the same period last year.
Business closures and stay-at-home orders not only led to many people working and attending school from home, but it has also trapped some at home with their abusers. Marta Pelaez, CEO of the Battered Women’s Shelter, believes COVID-19 has had a direct correlation to the recent spike. “That strategy to keep us all safe had a completely different impact and effect on the victims of domestic violence,” said Pelaez. The pandemic has created new stress within families, exacerbating existing tensions and causing a rise in domestic disputes that sometimes result in violence.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and it’s important that everyone take the time to learn about and understand the warning signs of domestic abuse and what resources are available for victims and survivors. Domestic violence can happen to anyone, which is why it’s so important to know how to get help. Examples of things you can do to help are educating yourself and others, helping a friend who is being abused, speaking up, and being an engaged bystander.
Raising awareness about domestic violence is key to preventing it, because the more we talk about it, the more we can do to prevent it and help those in need. Even though the pandemic will eventually come to an end, domestic violence will likely always be with us, so we should do everything we can to minimize it.
- People facing life-threatening domestic violence emergencies should call 9-1-1.
- Those needing to make a safety plan or report suspected abuse should call (210) 207-SAPD.
- The Family Violence Prevention Services can also provide support for those seeking shelter by calling (210) 733-8810.
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline is also available at (800) 799-SAFE.
- For more information on domestic violence awareness, please visit https://nomore.org/learn/resources/
“‘We are there because we save lives’: Battered Women and Children’s Shelter sees increase in need,” KSAT.com, September 6, 2020
“San Antonio Records Domestic Violence Increase During Coronavirus Crisis,” SA Current, April 7, 2020