Skip to Content

Domestic violence, child abuse cases could rise during COVID-19 crisis

Remaining Ad Time Ad - 00:00

SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (KTIV) -- Many of us are stuck inside as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 Pandemic.

But, that can create a bad situation for those aren't safe in their own homes. Advocacy groups saying we could see a rise in domestic violence and child abuse cases.

"Domestic abuse is about controlling someone's mind and emotions as much as hurting their body," said Haven House Executive Director Amy Munderloh.

Isolation. It's not a new feeling to victims of domestic violence.

But, for many, the COVID-19 crisis makes it worse.

"Victims can be just even more isolated, they may experience more violence and they are also at risk of losing their support system," said Munderloh.

Domestic violence can intensify by changing routines, especially if we're cooped up in the same home, day and night.

Munderloh said during the past week, they've seen an increase in those calls to their hotline.

"Usually though, physical abuse isn't what comes first," said Munderloh. "It's the abuse that can creep up slowly like a put down here or there, an odd excuse to keep you away from your family and friends, and then the violence ramps up."

The Sioux City Police Department is also seeing that increase.

Sergeant Jeremy McClure said they're seeing a sharp increase in the number of disturbance calls. They've responded to 220 overall disturbance calls in March, compared to 158 last month.

The South Sioux City Police Department said overall, they haven't seen that increase in domestic violence or child abuse calls during the crisis.

Chief Ed Mahon said every year they respond to 400 domestic violence-related disturbance calls, but that only results in about 12 to 15 arrests every year.

Another big fear for police and Munderloh is that child abuse may go unreported.

That's because mandatory reporters like teachers and doctors, may not be as active in kids' lives.

"I always stress for people to have the child abuse hotline on their phones and if you have any inclination at all that a child is being abused, call the number," said Munderloh.

You can reach Nebraska's child abuse hotline at 1-800-652-1999.

Haven House's crisis line is 1-800-440-4633.

Munderloh also said consider what places in your home are easy to get in and out of during a conflict.

She also recommends putting together an escape bag with items like important documents, keys, and medicines.

Click here for the latest news and information on the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Author Profile Photo

Michaela Feldmann

Skip to content