There has been a “dramatic increase” in calls to a domestic violence hotline operated by the leading provider of domestic violence services in Tarrant County.
“That shows us that domestic violence is increasing during a time where people are kind of stuck at home,” said Kathryn Jacob, President and CEO of SafeHaven of Tarrant County, an organization that operates two shelters, a 24/7 hotline, and provides a series of other services to survivors of domestic violence and their families.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SafeHaven hotline would receive an average of 63 to 68 calls a day, according to Jacob. But since May of this year, the number of calls per day has risen to an average of 92 to 95. That is an increase of just over 50%.
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“Domestic violence is based in power and control. One of the tools that the offender has in his tool box is the tactic of isolation,” Jacob said. “And when we have a time in our country and our world’s history where we are encouraging people to isolate it really expands the abuser’s use of that tactic.”
Jacob stressed that SafeHaven of Tarrant County is fully in support of public health measures meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Instead of discouraging increased restrictions, Jacob encouraged anyone who is living in an unsafe home to reach out for the help of trained professionals.
“If they call the hotline, if they come in to SafeHaven of Tarrant County, we believe you. Sometimes that doesn't happen with friends and family or with other support,” Jacob said. “Here is a lot of what we like to call 'victim blaming' - 'Why didn't you just leave?' Or 'It takes two to tango.' In domestic violence relationships it doesn't. There is one person who has power, and one person who is oppressed."
The SafeHaven domestic violence hotline can be reached at 877-701-7233.