Domestic violence concerns rise during COVID-19 pandemic

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) In communities across the country, the numbers show domestic violence calls are increasing.

There are concerns about the rise of domestic and family violence related to COVID-19.

At Families in Crisis shelter a concern remains about the numbers after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Suzanne Armour, the director of programs at Families in Crisis, says a shelter-in-place order and isolation is a perfect recipe for an abuser.

"This is almost like handing the situation to that abuser on a silver platter," she said.

Since the shelter-in-place order in Bell County on March 24, there have been 188 reported assault or aggravated assault cases, according to an online crime tracking map.

The month prior: 162 cases.

Once life returns to "normal," those numbers are expected to increase.

"I anticipate we will see an influx of clients once we get back to normal because at that point they will hopefully feel safer about leaving," Armour said. "A lot of people that thought 'O we can just get though this it will be fine,' that may be true for some but I think for the overwhelming majority they will make the choice to leave."

Armour recommends abuse victims to create a code word with family and friends to alert if there is any danger.

She also says another option could be shared with your neighbor.

"Leave a porch light, if you turn the porch light on could that be a sign for the neighbors to call the police," she said.

Armour also recommends if you find yourself in an abusive situation to avoid being cornered in a room and to plan ahead by having important documents and medications ready in case you have to leave at a moments notice.