Domestic violence hotline calls increased by 30% during pandemic, social service provider says

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Calls to the domestic violence hotline increased by 30% during the pandemic, according to a director of the Center for Prevention of Abuse in Peoria.

Frances Reyes, director of family-centered domestic violence services at the Center for Prevention of Abuse, said the center received more than 10,000 phone calls in 2020. She said they served more than 6,000 people l last year, including 350 in the refuge.

She said the pandemic had had a dramatic effect on domestic violence cases, with many calling the hotline for the first time.

“There is a stressor at home, a person has probably lost their job, a loss of income, increases the stress. As a result, we saw more people asking us for services because they had never experienced this before, ”Reyes said. “Stay-at-home mandates, restrictions like that, have fueled these abusive situations in some people who have never experienced it or perhaps have not experienced it at the level where they are currently experiencing it. “

Reyes said it was important to learn the signs of an abusive relationship, as domestic violence often occurs behind closed doors.

“It is important to educate not only those who are in an abusive relationship, but also their loved ones, their friends, anyone in their support system. It would be really beneficial to know the signs, to help point it out, ”she said.

She said that one in three women and one in four men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. On average, individuals return to their abusive partner seven times before leaving for the last time.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, call the centre’s hotline at 1-800-559-SAFE.

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