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Domestic Abuse Calls Spiking During COVID-19 Pandemic, Nonprofit Says

LOGAN, Utah – A nonprofit organization that helps domestic abuse victims is seeing some of their highest numbers ever for help.

COVID-19 is playing a major role in the increased demand and how the Citizens Against Physical and Sexual Abuse (CAPSA) serves clients.

Getting people help and refuge from domestic abuse is already a tough order for CAPSA.

“We’ve just seen phenomenal growth increases in the number of people requesting help,” said CAPSA executive director Jill Anderson.

Anderson said the number of people asking for help in Cache and Rich counties was higher than it has ever been.

“I’ve never seen a time like this. I’ve been with the organization for more than 25 years and have never seen the demand the way it is,” she said.

Jill Anderson, CAPSA executive director.

CAPSA has had to reduce its capacity by half due to COVID-19 restrictions. That means the nonprofit can use only 16 beds.

More than half of the people CAPSA recently sheltered have been sent out to area hotels.

Anderson said they hit an all-time high last week, helping about 47 people each night.

 

A CAPSA shelter bedroom

“A lot of people are being furloughed or losing jobs or were just simply worrying about becoming sick and so abusers use that fear to gain further control over victims,” she said.

Calls to their helpline have more than doubled. The Real Salt Lake Foundation helped by purchasing a fourplex for the charity, but the high-demand continued.

“It has really put a tremendous strain on our organization,” Anderson said.

That also means staff members were working extra hours and implementing technology to help where possible.

“I think we handled it really well. The message that I want to get out to survivors is — if you need our help, please call. We can do it in a safe way and we’re here to support you,” said Anderson.

With those higher than normal numbers expected to continue, they could use the help from the community, possibly now more than ever.

While CAPSA could use help with cleaning supplies and masks right now, its biggest need is for financial support.


Domestic Violence Resources

Call the Utah Domestic Violence Hotline (Utah Link line) at 1-800-897-LINK for help and resources statewide.

Individuals can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

Salt Lake City residents can reach out to the Salt Lake City Police Department’s 24-hour hotline directly, at 801-580-7969. All services are free, and callers can get information anonymously.

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