Domestic Violence Crisis Calls Are Up, But Not Everywhere
Domestic abuse calls for help are on the rise in Minnesota during the COVID-19 pandemic, says domestic abuse experts. Day One, a network of domestic violence prevention programs, is seeing a jump in calls to its crisis hotline.
On Monday, Day One had 145 calls. Usually it’s about 75 requests, said Colleen Schmitt, director of programs for Cornerstone, the nonprofit that manages the hotline.
Domestic Abusers Use Isolation As Weapon
Elsa Swenson is with Home Free, a shelter and advocacy group that’s part of Plymouth-based Missions Inc. Programs. She says domestic abuse is about power and control. Swenson says many abusers use isolation as a weapon. The current stay-at-home order makes matters worse considering people are largely restricted to their homes.
“It’s kind of making a pressure cooker for these situations,” said Swenson.
Swenson is also worried people aren’t calling for help. She says her group has to use different methods to assist victims during this time.
“We have to be more creative about how do we function within that relationship and a pandemic? And how does that change how we safely plan? How do people move forward and take the next steps?” said Swenson.
Domestic Abuse Reports Actually Drop in Brooklyn Park
Brooklyn Park police Detective Shane Husarik handles about 250 to 300 domestic abuse cases per year. However, cases have fallen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brooklyn Park. From March 15 to April 12, simple assaults and domestic violence fear cases went down about 28 percent, Husarik said.
Husarik credits community engagement groups with helping to connect with people who might be in danger during this challenging time.
Advocates recommend people check in on family and friends who might be at risk. They also remind people that services are still available during the stay-at-home order to help people in a violent situation. Domestic violence shelters remain open too.
Want to know more? Watch this CCX News special report titled “Domestic Violence: Breaking the Silence.” It also includes resources on where to get help.