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Domestic violence spikes in the Metro as people stay home

Posted at 6:50 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 19:50:53-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — With more and more people staying home as a result of the coronavirus, it’s causing concern for a different problem: Domestic violence.

The Women’s Center for Advancement wants people to not forget about the issue during these times of change.

In a Sunday press conference, Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer made note of the change.

"There has been a spike in our calls for domestic violence. We don't know that's attributed to, it could be more that people are around each other more often. But yes, we have seen an increase," said Captain Wayne Hudson of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

Hudson said they’ve seen a similar spike in domestic violence calls.

With fewer cars on the roadways and with more people inside, it’s raising concern for some.

"When you have violence and abuse happening, the stress in a family will escalate it," said Women's Center for Advancement CEO Amy Richardson.

Previous studies have shown that higher unemployment can lead to more domestic violence and now with lots of people inside due to the coronavirus, the same could be happening now.

"We got economic stressors, we got people that are scared and anxious and it's really hard to understand but people that love other people are victims of this," says Richardson.

Richardson said domestic violence happens when people are isolated with each other and with so much going on, this issue may be getting overlooked.

"One in four women will experience domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking or stalking in their lifetime and so it is a health issue that needs to be in the forefront,” says Richardson.

Friends and loved ones of those who may be or are currently victims will play a crucial role during this time.

"You have to be good neighbors, you have to take notice when you have friends that you know this is going on in their household,” says Richardson. “Family members, everybody needs to surround and be very careful during this time."

The Women’s Center for Advancement has multiple resources available to help those in need including a 24-hour phone line at (402) 345-7273)

"Sometimes the worst comes out in people during this and it will be the lesser people that is going to be assaulted," says Richardson.

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