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KPBS Midday Edition

Preparing For An Increase In Domestic Violence Due To COVID-19

A domestic violence campaign billboard reads "Now is the time ... to help a friend," Oct. 4, 2018.
San Diego County District Attorney
A domestic violence campaign billboard reads "Now is the time ... to help a friend," Oct. 4, 2018.
Stay-home orders to avoid the coronavirus will mean increased danger of domestic violence, experts fear. Abusers, stressed by unemployment, food insecurity and unpaid bills, may find additional ways to exercise control over their victims. New help for domestic violence sufferers is available locally.

San Diegans, like everyone else in California, are under orders to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic. While following these orders will save lives, others will be put at greater risk of domestic violence.

San Diego County Domestic Violence Hotline (also for sexual assault): 1-888-DVLINKS (385-4657)

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233; TTY 1-800-787-3224

The circumstances that are now part of everyday life -- confinement at home, loss of employment, money worries, food insecurity, stressers which increase tension and anxiety, can lead to increased domestic violence. Apparently researchers found increased domestic violence during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and more recently in Wuhan, China, ground zero for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Law enforcement and advocates against domestic violence in San Diego are mounting an effort to address the increased risk, which can take several forms. Those include physical, emotional and sexual abuse, as well as stalking, according to the San Diego County District Attorney's office

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan and domestic violence victims' advocate Jessica Yaffa talk to Midday Edition on Thursday about resources available locally.