Increase in calls to Minnesota's domestic violence hotline amid stay-at-home order

Amid the stay-at-home order in Minnesota, there's been an increase in calls to the statewide domestic violence hotline.

According to Violence Free Minnesota, since March 15, on average there's been a 21 percent increase in calls compared to a year ago. On March 15, Governor Tim Walz ordered the closure of schools and the stay-at-home order went into effect on March 27. Advocates say the increase in calls likely doesn't tell the whole picture as some may be isolated with an abuser and unable to get help. 

"There is the chance that they will not be able to reach out via phone or via an email because the person abusing them has limited their access to technology, so we also encourage people who know someone is being hurt at home to remain in touch with that person as much as is safe and is possible," said Becky Smith, the communications director for Violence Free Minnesota.

Groups are working on their outreach at places like grocery stores, pharmacies and parks. They are also raising awareness so people know that programs helping victims are still open.

“Local programs are offering shelter; if they aren’t offering shelter on site, they are working with local hotels and motels and temporary housing facilities to ensure that people have a safe place to go,” said Smith.

If you or someone you know may be experiencing domestic violence, you can call the DayOne hotline at (866)223-1111 or text (612)399-9995.