PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The number of domestic violence cases across the region has climbed during the pandemic as victims are isolated and stuck at home with their abusers. But help is available.
In the past week alone, two cases of domestic violence made headlines.
Police shot a man accused of forcing his way into his girlfriend’s home and stabbing her Sunday in Vancouver. KOIN 6 News learned Tuesday the man died of his injuries. The victim has been released from the hospital.
Last week in Salem, a woman’s brother-in-law reportedly showed up at her home, shot her in the face before shooting and killing her 11-year-old son and 24-year-old daughter.
Statistics show one in three women and one in four men in the U.S. report experiencing domestic violence. In Clackamas County, deputies saw an approximate 50% increase in reported domestic violence crimes in February, March and April compared to the previous year. Cases referred to the Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office increased 49% in April, 21% in May, 31% in June and 35% in July while August saw a slight decrease.
But the pandemic hasn’t only led to an uptick in reports of domestic violence. Emmy Ritter, the executive director of Raphael House of Portland, said the calls are getting more lethal and the situations are growing more extreme.
“The calls are very different than what we experienced pre-pandemic and I think that has to do with all the other stressors that on top of a domestic violence situation just exacerbate what’s already there,” said Ritter.
What’s important to remember is that life-saving resources are available, including 24-hour hotlines, emergency shelters and advocates who can help provide answers.
“Domestic violence thrives on two main ingredients: stress and social isolation,” said Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton. “So the first thing you can do is just know there are people out there that want to help.”
Portland police told KOIN 6 News emergency services provided to survivors of domestic violence haven’t changed since the pandemic started. The bureau still provides advocates every day of the week to respond to provide support to survivors of critical cases. The Gateway Center is still open and offering services for survivors and their families. Hotlines like “Call to Safety” are also still available.
Call 911 in an emergency
Call to Safety: 503.235.5333
Clackamas Women’s Services 24/7 confidential crisis line: 888.654.2288
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800.799.7233
National Domestic Violence Hotlines – Deaf Services: 855.812.1001 (videophone) or 800.787.3224 (TTY)
National Sexual Abuse Hotline: 800.656.4673