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Domestic Violence Cases Up During Pandemic, Police Say

SPANISH FORK, Utah – An increase in domestic violence and aggravated assault cases during the COVID-19 pandemic has some Utah law enforcement officers concerned heading into the winter months.

Officials with multiple police agencies in Salt Lake and Utah counties, along with the Domestic Violence Council, all told KSL they’ve seen increases in those incidents since the start of the pandemic.

Unified police, who responded to a Midvale home where a man allegedly stabbed his wife to death Wednesday night, said they have noticed their domestic violence cases have been more violent too.

“Sometimes it makes it so people don’t deal well with interpersonal interactions within a family setting,” said Sgt. Spencer Cannon, spokesperson for the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

Cannon has been doing this job for decades and said the pandemic has added a lot of stress on people.

“We know, for an example, that during the holiday months, we see an increase in family problems or domestic violence-related calls,” he said.

“When you respond to domestic violence cases, does it stick with you?” KSL’s Morgan Wolfe asked.

“Yes, certain ones do,” Cannon replied. “Bad things aren’t supposed to happen to anybody, but adults make their own choices and sometimes the choices adults make negatively impacts adults in their lives. But when children get involved in those, it really compounds the impact. Because adults are supposed to be the protector of those children and when adults or at least one of the adults in a situation is responsible for causing harm whether emotionally or physically to those children — it becomes even more devastating.”

Law enforcement officials said abuse victims are not out in public as much because of the pandemic — for every domestic violence case that is reported, there are five other that go unreported.

If you suspect someone is in an abusive relation, police said to intervene and offer them resources to get help. It could save their life.

Domestic Violence Resources

If you are a victim of abuse, there are resources out there to help. It is a difficult first step, but help is available 24 hours a day and doesn’t cost anything.

  • Utah Domestic Violence Link Line 1-800-897-LINK (5465)
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • Utah YWCA shelter for women- 24-Hour Crisis Line- 801-537-8600
  • 911 — don’t hesitate to call if you need immediate help

Online resources:

https://justice.utah.gov/Violence/

http://www.health.utah.gov/vipp/topics/domestic-violence/

https://www.thehotline.org/resources/statistics/

https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=235

https://ncadv.org

https://www.nij.gov/topics/crime/intimate-partner-violence/Pages/welcome.aspx

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