Increased violence seen at Domestic Violence calls

Reported domestic violence cases in Bellevue are more violent since the COVID-19 pandemic began. While the overall number of reported cases during this time frame is about the same compared to the historical five-year average, “What has changed is the level of violence,” warned Major Travess Forbush. “Since the pandemic forced us all to stay home, we’ve seen a 28% increase in felony domestic violence assaults. These situations are more dangerous for the victims; the injuries are more severe,” Forbush added.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and DV advocates urge those suffering to reach out for help. It’s also imperative that friends and loved ones recognize the signs of domestic violence. The COVID-19 pandemic has everyone isolating at home, which is dangerous for domestic violence victims.

“Survivors have seen an unprecedented increase in safety concerns due to the COVID-19 epidemic and related economic downturn. We are seeing a sharp increase in the frequency and severity of abuse endured by survivors and their children, including more serious injuries and higher lethality indicators, including more threats with firearms and strangulation,” stated Rachel Krinsky, the Executive Director of LifeWire. Krinsky adds the need is dire, “We are receiving a significant increase in the number of requests for protection orders and an exponential increase in requests for rental assistance and food assistance.”

If you or someone you know needs help, Bellevue-based LifeWire is a phone call away. Advocates staff the helpline 24/7, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Resources are available for those involved in a domestic violence situation, and for family & friends who want to help. The 24-Hour Helpline is 800-827-8840. You can find many resources on their website, www.lifewire.org.

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