Concerns Grow As Domestic Violence Calls Gradually Decline During The Coronavirus Pandemic

As the pandemic continued through April, the number of calls began to gradually decline.

DULUTH, Minn. – The ongoing pandemic is raising some concerns for the well-being of victims of domestic violence.

Organizations, such as Safe Haven in Duluth, are seeing drastic changes in the number of calls for help since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Now they are worried, what these changes could mean for the safety of those victims.

A decline in the number of domestic violence calls is a reason for organizations like Safe Haven to believe victims may be in more danger as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

In March, Safe Haven saw a dramatic 10% spike in the number of calls to their shelter.

As the pandemic continued through April, those statistics began to gradually decline.

Safe Haven typically receives nearly 15 calls each day from domestic violence victims seeking shelter.

On a recent day, the organization only received two calls.

Due to this drastic drop in the number of victims searching for help Safe Haven staff say this is causing more concern than ever.

“We think calls are going down because people are simply not able to find the privacy to make the call because they are home with their abuser,” said Executive Director Brittany Robb. “They are finding that sometimes it is not even safe to make the call because it could put them at a higher level of danger.”

Law enforcement agencies have not seen major changes in domestic violence calls, which can also be more concerning.

Safe Haven is finding victims of domestic violence are choosing not to call law enforcement as a first responder because, in most cases, abusers are spouses to their victims.

Those victims are afraid of getting their spouses in legal trouble.

In other cases, victims may not receive the response from law enforcement they were hoping for to assist in getting help for their situation.

Safe Haven staff say if victims are afraid the best course of action is to find a way to make the call, even if it means pretending to call for other reasons such as ordering pizza.

To help better serve victims during this tough time, Safe Haven is partnering with local hospitals, clinics, and grocery stores to provide an outlet to resources for victims of domestic violence.

If you are a victim or know someone who is a victim of domestic violence, call Safe Haven at 218-728-6481 to speak to an advocate 24/7.

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