Domestic violence increasing as Bay area residents urged to stay home

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – As Americans are urged to stay at home during the coronavirus crisis, that may not be a safe option for all.

An NBC survey of law enforcement agencies across the United States shows an increase in arrests for domestic violence.


WHAT TO KNOW:

  • Florida is reporting 85,926 cases and 3,061 deaths
  • Florida in Phase Two of reopening
  • Cases have spiked in past week, Gov. DeSantis says due to increased testing

Mindy Murphy is the CEO of The Spring in Tampa.

Murphy says the crisis line at their shelter is showing an increase on some days.

“The thing that keeps us safe from COVID-19 is the social distancing and staying in your house is absolutely the thing that puts you at greatest risk if you happen to be with an abusive partner,” said Murphy.

The Spring and other shelters across the Bay Area are still open and Murphy wants survivors of abuse to know there is still help available.

“Your home is not always safe and so the one thing we want survivors to realize is that services are still available, The Spring is open for business, CASA in St. Pete is open for business,” said Murphy.

As many are spending more time at home, some people are losing their jobs and bills are mounting. That is creating stress in the home, but Murphy says that is not a reason for abuse.

“No level of stress causes someone to become abusive, but somebody who is already abusive, stress can exacerbate, so stress, loss of a job, uncertainty about the future, those are the things that can make abusers escalate their abuse,” said Murphy.

Murphy says help for survivors of abuse is only a phone call away.

“If you are really afraid that your partner is going to do you great harm, get out of the house. It’s better to flea the house than stay in the house with somebody at the point which you think they might be willing to kill you,” said Murphy.

The phone number for the Spring in Tampa is 813-247-SAFE (7233).

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