Posted December 16, 202111:46 am
Rates of domestic violence increased during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Resources and funding for survivors plunged, however. The Ohio Domestic Violence Network reports fatalities were 14% higher in the first few months of the pandemic than in the same period in 2019. Calls to The National Domestic Violence Hotline went down from 2,000 calls per day to 951 calls from March 10 to 24, 2020. Survivors probably couldn’t access help from providers, like hospitals, shelters, and legal offices, because of the spike in illness and deaths.
Many providers shut down in-person services during COVID-19 and only provided phone and internet services. Many low-income families can’t access the internet. These families couldn’t easily get medical help, hotlines, and emotional support. Survivors may not have sought shelter because of potential COVID-19 exposure. Lockdowns made it hard to escape. Staying at home increased instances of violence. Without in-person support, people’s mental health worsened.
Ohio’s federal Victim of Crime Acts funds were cut by over $20 million between 2020 and 2021. COVID-19 restrictions have started to lift, but many resources are still closed or online. Shelters are still limited. Mental health services are in high demand. People still need help escaping abusive relationships while communities are still coping with COVID-19. A person experiencing domestic violence may qualify for help from Legal Aid to obtain a protection order. Applications can be made online at www.lasclev.org or by phone at 1.888.817.3777.
Written by Komal Hans
This article was published in Legal Aid's newsletter, "The Alert" Volume 37, Issue 1, in Fall 2021. See full issue at this link: “The Alert” – Volume 37, Issue 1 – Legal Aid Society of Cleveland (lasclev.org).