CLEVELAND — Across Ohio, officials are seeing a stark increase in domestic violence over the span of two years.
The Ohio Domestic Violence Network reported 131 people died from domestic violence from July 2020 to June of 2021. That’s a 20% increase from the previous year and a 62% increase since 2018-19. All of this is something those at Journey Center for Safety and Healing aren't shocked about, saying at one point during the pandemic, they saw fewer calls.
“We actually saw calls to our helpline take a dip in the immediate stay-at-home order because people were stuck at home with an abuser,” said Melissa Graves, the CEO of Journey Center for Safety and Healing.
Now they are seeing the outcome of those constrained cries for help.
“We're seeing the effects of a year and a half of people being in that abusive situation. So we've seen abuse just really escalate again in frequency and severity and we're seeing a lot of folks come to us with severe injury and you know, the emotional trauma of being in that situation for so long,” said Graves.
Before the pandemic, the average danger assessment score out of 20 was 16.82. During the pandemic, that number rose to 19.58. To give an idea of how extreme that rise is, anything above 17 indicates an extremely high risk for homicide.
Victoria Grant with Journey Center for Safety and Healing said that when a victim tries to leave her abusive situation, the danger risk rises.
“The most dangerous time for survivors when they leave, their chances of becoming murdered increases by 75%. And they're at risk for up to two years,” said Grant.
The center says they are also seeing, more women and children. Right now 60% of the people in their shelters are kids. Journey makes it clear DV data aren't always accurate for the simple fact that so many cases go unknown.
“It is an underreported crime. So when we're talking about an increase, what really does that increase look like? Since a lot of victims don't even report,” said Grant.
Reminding everyone at home that it could be anyone. Domestic violence is all over if you or a friend are in need the centers help, you can call or text 216-391 HELP
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