San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan joined the District Attorneys of Sacramento, Alameda and Ventura counties, and the United States Attorneys for the Eastern District of California, Central District of California, and Southern District of California to launch an online outreach campaign to help victims of domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. The District Attorneys and U.S. Attorneys are joined by Childhelp, a national nonprofit organization aiding victims of child abuse.
The outreach campaign was created to combat unintended consequences of COVID-19 public health measures— an alarming rise in domestic violence with victims trapped at home with their abusers under increasing stress. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has reported an increase in contacts to the hotline during COVID-19. Reports show that physicians are treating more domestic violence injuries and that these injuries are more severe. According to the CDC, roughly 1 in 6 homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner. In 2019, there were 17,434 domestic violence cases reported to law enforcement in San Diego County. There were 13 domestic violence homicide victims, of which the suspect was a current or former intimate partner, and 4 children. According to SANDAG, there were 8,495 domestic violence incidents reported in the first six months of 2020 compared to 8,235 reported in the first half of 2019.
“These unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic appear to have unleashed more domestic violence in the home with victims feeling trapped with their abusive partner and children as collateral victims,” District Attorney Summer Stephan. “We want victims to know that they are not alone and our DA Victim Services, local and national organizations and law enforcement continue to be ready, despite the pandemic, to help them get to safety and give them the help and resources they need.”
According to Childhelp Founder & CEO, Sara O’Meara, “The partnership of California’s safety leaders with Childhelp to secure children during COVID-19 is a model for child welfare across the country. All these huge hearts coming together to find children trapped in the shadows of abuse will not only save lives but create a culture of compassion that will exist long after this virus is behind us.”
The campaign includes a video public service announcement and public awareness messages posted on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms with a new post made each day for one week. The posts provide information for victims with resources, such as 24-hour hotlines and other services vital to reporting abuse. The posts also provide tips for concerned friends, relatives, and educators on how they can help victims of abuse. This outreach campaign follows a July campaign addressing domestic violence and child abuse and exploitation by U.S. Attorney Scott, ChildHelp, and the District Attorneys of San Diego, Alameda and Sacramento counties.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit PreventDV1.org for local resources or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.