Advocates say domestic violence still an issue despite drop off in calls for help

Advocates say domestic violence still an issue despite drop off in calls for help
Advocates say that domestic violence is still an issue, despite a drop off in calls for help.
In the early days of the pandemic, there was a sudden uptick in domestic violence calls, as everyone was locked in their homes, police say.
In Suffolk County, the number of domestic violence victims increased by around 200 from 2019 to 2020, and in Nassau County to 130 victims.
Josephine Hodge says she survived more than a decade of physical and emotional abuse from her boyfriend. She hopes that she can help encourage others to get help.
“There is nothing wrong with getting help,” Hodge says. “The shame is not getting help and ending up dead.”
The Suffolk County Police Department has a domestic violence bureau with officers dedicated to continued outreach to victims.
Sgt. Kelly Hartill is the commanding officer of the Suffolk Police Department’s Domestic Violence and Elder Abuse Bureau.
“It can be going on for a long time, subtly, that you don’t realize,” Hartill says. “When you start to hear other examples of people who have gone through something similar to you, you realize maybe that’s not the way to go, maybe I need to make a change.”
Some local advocates say there has been a decrease in reported domestic violence incidents, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a problem.
Keith Scott, with the Safe Center Long Island, says he has seen a drop in reports of domestic violence and calls for help, but he believes abuse is still happening and just not being reported.
“They can’t leave their house, they have nowhere safe to go,” Scott says. “They might not call for help, but sometimes if someone doesn’t get arrested, the abuse could escalate once the police leave.”
He says people are becoming very fearful of calling for help and sometimes the abuser is right next to the victim when they would need to call for help.
The Safe Center Long Island has a 24/7 hotline number and can be reached at 516-542-0404.

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