Pandemic sparks increase in domestic violence in CSRA counties

Published: Oct. 12, 2020 at 5:17 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Several CSRA counties say there’s an increase of domestic violence cases in the area, but there are challenges with finding help — especially in a pandemic.

SafeHomes, a nonprofit domestic violence center, says they’ve received 910 crisis calls this year alone, a vast increase from last year.

The calls are always disturbing to hear because each one is someone asking for help.

“When you’ve responded to that many domestics in a year, that lets you know there’s something going on,” Chief Anson Evans of the Thomson Police Department said.

Evans says last year, his agency responded to 60 domestic violence calls. This year, that number has jumped to 179.

“Most of it has something to do with the pandemic, and so many folks are closed in with each other,” he explained.

In Columbia County, the increase isn’t as much. Deputies have worked 313 domestic violence cases since March. That compares to 307 during the same time last year.

“For the victims, we have to find some kind of ways and means of getting them out of the situation that they’re in,” Evans said.

“We are still seeing physical violence, emotional violence, isolation,” said Aimee Hall, executive director at SafeHomes.

SafeHomes has seen a 60 percent increase in crisis calls this year. Many of their referrals find the center through law enforcement.

But this year, taking care of victims is harder. Even safety measures can be hurtful.

“Having that shield over their face has been a reminder to many of them that we hear of the abuse and physical abuse they’ve faced,” Hall said.

Hall also says we can only get through this by helping each other. She says to never be afraid to check in on family and ask the hard questions.

“If you see something, say something, and if you’re a family member — don’t let these things happen to your loved ones,” Evans said.

This year, SafeHomes is planning a virtual survivors walk on Oct. 29. Organizers are asking people to wear purple, share their pictures on social media, and simply support each other.

If you need assistance or are experiencing domestic violence, there several resources for you.

SafeHomes is even offering secure, tele-mental health services.


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