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Advocates of domestic violence victims say fewer are seeking help

Posted at 10:45 PM, May 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 01:49:11-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Staying home has been haven from the perils of the coronavirus, but that haven is, for some, the place where the risk of danger is highest.

"The number of people reaching out for services has actually decreased a little bit since the pandemic started," said Ed Mercurio-Sakwa, CEO of the Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse.

Mercurio-Sakwa said 21 is their usual daily intake for calls from victims looking for a way out of their situation.

During the current health crisis, Mercurio-Sakwa said calls are down 15 percent.

It might not seem like sharp drop, but Mercurio-Sakwa said there's more happening in that 15 percent of calls than the stats reflect.

"There's more domestic violence happening and less people who have to freedom to be able to access the kinds of support services they might have otherwise."

Home should be a shelter from the health emergency to which we've all been subject, instead for these victims it's ground zero.

"We know that people are locked in their homes with the person who's being abusive to them."

A look behind the door: Emerge reports some victims are giving them grim details of their reality at home during the COVID-19 outbreak.

"There are still many people who have found a way to reach out, but they are telling us that it is becoming harder and harder for them to do," Mercurio-Sakwa said.

When shelter-in-place orders are lifted later this month, Emerge expects to get a back log of new cases.

"We fully expect to have a flood of calls once that shelter-at-home order is over."

If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic abuse help is available at the Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse online or you can call their 24-hour crisis line at 888-428-0101