PHOENIX - Following a number of violent incidents in the Valley, experts are hoping to spread the word about the resources available for domestic violence victims and what may be contributing to the cases.
The "silent pandemic" is what experts are calling the level of domestic violence in the country right now. They say it’s just gotten worse through the COVID-19 pandemic as many are stuck in their homes and/or are experiencing tremendous amounts of stress.
Calls coming into national domestic violence hotlines are reportedly much more intense than they were prior to the pandemic.
"It’s what we’re calling the 'silent pandemic,'" said Dana Martinez, director of Domestic and Sexual Violence at A New Leaf, adding, "'Cause people aren’t reaching out for help like they normally would and it’s created a lot of unsafe conditions."
She says that the number of calls they’re getting in has remained pretty steady throughout the pandemic, but the intensity of the calls has gone way up. As have the number of calls to police.
"So they are waiting until the last minute when it gets really bad and then they are calling the police," Martinez said, adding, many will call from the hospital where they're getting treated for severe injuries from the violence.
Martinez says a lot of people have held off on calling domestic violence services amid the pandemic because they're concerned about going to a shelter and potentially getting exposed to the virus. What a lot of people don’t realize, she says, is that you can call them for resources outside of the shelter.
In fact, many of their support groups and case management sessions can be done virtually. She says hopefully before the situation escalates to the point where the person would need immediate access to a shelter.
Her advice is to make that call before things get ready bad at home. For more information on A New Leaf domestic violence services, visit this link.
For domestic violence resources in the US, click here.