SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Over the past two weeks, the Salt Lake City Police Department reports seeing a 33% increase in calls to report domestic violence.
Last week, the department and experts at the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition talked to 2News about concerns that requests for Utahns to say at home to prevent to spread of coronavirus would do just that.
"Isolation can be an important tactic for a person who’s perpetrating violence and abuse and aggression in their home," Jenn Oxborrow, executive director of the domestic violence coalition told 2News on March 17. "This type of self-quarantining and social distancing can really lend itself to further isolation."
Police report the number of domestic violence calls was already on the rise in 2020, with a "dramatic uptick" over the past two weeks.
“These are challenging times and people are under a lot of stress. Unfortunately, this stress can spill out into relationships,” Chief Mike Brown stated in a prepared press release on Tuesday.
“It is never acceptable to perpetrate violence against another. We encourage people to find healthy ways of handling their stress and to think twice before acting in anger.”
Domestic violence can come in many forms, including some you might not traditionally expect. Physical violence is of the utmost concern, but other "very serious" forms of domestic violence include:
The department wants people in dangerous situations to know that a victim advocate can offer help for free at any time of the day or night. Reports can be made anonymously. Advocates can help with resources, planning, crisis counseling, safety plans, "or just listen." Protective orders can now be obtained online in keeping with social distancing advice.
To talk to a victim advocate, call police at 801-799-3000 and ask to speak to a victim advocate. A 24-hour hotline can be reached at 801-580-7969.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 1-800-799-7233, and the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition hotline can be reached at 1-800-897-5465.
Police and advocates implored friends, family members, and neighbors who are concerned about domestic violence to contact authorities. Chief Brown states:
“Neighbors, families, and friends, please keep an eye out and notify us if you suspect there is a case of interpersonal violence. We are here to help.”
A list of local domestic violence shelters can be found online here. Resources are also available through the YWCA of Utah.