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Domestic abuse on the rise amid the pandemic

Fifty percent rise across the country
Posted at 8:57 AM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 08:57:15-05

CAPE CORAL, FL. — An issue that often puts many lives on the line, is on the rise.

ACT, or Abuse Counseling and Treatment, is an organization in Southwest Florida that has seen increased firsthand.

"All across the country, agencies like ours are reporting about a 50 percent increase in domestic violence. Local law enforcement has been reporting huge increases," said ACT Community Education Coordinator Megan Dalabes.

Records from the Cape Coral Police Department show that they'd already gotten about 2700 calls for incidents related to domestic violence by September of this year.

That's almost 400 more calls they'd gotten by the same time last year.

CCPD thinks the increase is directly linked to the pandemic.

"People are inside a lot of people lost their jobs. Some are using alcohol and drugs to self-medicate to get over their depression or whatever mental anxiety they are having," said CCPD Master Sgt. Patrick O'Grady.

And the Clinical Director at ACT local agrees.

"Domestic violence most definitely thrives in isolation and secrecy. So, the pandemic is a perfect scenario for abuse to thrive," said Kimberly Perez.

Now that we know more about why domestic violence is increasing. We wanted to dive deeper into what it looks like. So we spoke to a survivor. We've changed her name to Paula to protect her identity.

"It was just years upon years of living with this, and it finally got the point where I had to do the changing," Paula said.

Tonight on FOX 4 News at 10P, you'll hear more of Paula's story and about how she recently escaped an abusive situation.