While the coronavirus pandemic keeps Americans at home, law enforcement and domestic violence prevention organizations are sounding the alarm that isolation could increase the risk of abuse for victims of domestic violence. Moms Demand Action volunteers and survivors of gun violence are available to discuss the deadly link between guns and domestic violence.
This problem is already presenting itself in states across the country:
- In Cincinnati, local advocates report a 30 percent increase in hotline calls.
- A Los Angeles hospital reported difficulty finding a shelter for a domestic abuse victim due to the pandemic.
- The Nashville YWCA reported a 55 percent increase in calls as COVID-19 cases increased in Tennessee earlier this month.
- The Seattle police department reported a 23 percent increase in domestic violence related calls compared to the same time period last year.
- Some helplines in Arizona have reported a 10 percent increase in the number of calls received since social distancing practices began.
- Domestic violence shelters in Virginia are reporting an increase in calls for help.
- A Portland domestic violence resource center saw calls double in the past week.
- The Salt Lake City police department reported a 33 percent increase in calls to report domestic violence.
Intimate partner violence and gun violence in the U.S. are inextricably linked, impacting millions of women, families, and communities across the country. When a domestic abuser has access to a gun, they are five times more likely to kill their victim.
Every month, an average of 53 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner. Nearly one million women alive today have reported being shot or shot at by intimate partners, and 4.5 million women have reported being threatened with a gun. Children also bear the terrible burden of gun-related domestic violence: Data drawn from 16 states indicate that nearly two-thirds of child fatalities involving domestic violence were caused by guns.
More information on the link between guns and domestic violence is available here.