Do­mes­tic vi­o­lence shel­ter vis­its rise

Shel­ters see more vis­its as shut­down sub­sides

Orlando Sentinel - - Front Page - By Dana Cassidy

Ex­perts say fear of con­tract­ing virus led to num­bers fall­ing in April.

Af­ter notic­ing fewer in-per­son vis­its amid April’s statewide coro­n­avirus lock­down, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence shel­ters say more peo­ple are now seek­ing pro­tec­tion from abusers as Cen­tral Florida emerges from its hi­ber­na­tion, a trend they ex­pect will con­tinue with the econ­omy still in dis­tress.

Do­mes­tic vi­o­lence be­came an is­sue of height­ened con­cern when Gov. Ron DeSan­tis placed the state un­der lock­down last month be­cause of COVID-19. Vic­tim wel­fare ad­vo­cates feared a spike in cases, not­ing that, in times of nat­u­ral dis­as­ter, eco­nomic hard­ship or other cri­sis, peo­ple in strained re­la­tion­ships face an el­e­vated risk of abuse.

The amount of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence ar­rests in the area for April were lower than in 2019, but ad­vo­cates be­lieve the stay-at-home man­date may have pre­vented peo­ple from re­port­ing abuse be­cause they were un­able to leave or find a safe place to call some­one.

Har­bor House of Cen­tral Florida, a shel­ter in Orange County, saw an in­crease in calls dur­ing the shut­down even as in-per­son vis­its de­creased. Those who came to seek in-per­son refuge did so as a last re­sort, Har­bor House CEO

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