INDIANAPOLIS — Deaths related to domestic violence are up by roughly 85% in Indiana compared to the same time period last year, according to the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
It’s executive director, Laura Berry, believes the COVID-19 pandemic is directly impacting the state’s homicide rate.
“Our statistics have unfortunately been alarming around domestic homicides during this time,” she said.
The organization looked at data from March until October. Berry said two main factors can cause an increase in domestic homicide: economic downtown and access to firearms.
She was concerned when she noticed calls to Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence dropped between April and June.
“During the period of time, we had stay at home orders. You know all of those survivors did not feel they had the ability to reach out for services. They could not safely make phone calls,” Berry explained.
IU Health Methodist also found there were fewer assault victims coming to the emergency room early in the pandemic. As a forensic nurse examiner, Julie Morrison cares for patients who have been hurt by someone else.
“They don’t just stop happening. We just weren’t seeing them. They were probably afraid to come to the hospital,” Morrison said.
She explained the number of assault patients at her hospital increased in the summer months. According to her numbers, there were 94 assault patients at the hospital in June compared to 60 in June of 2019. Morrison said IU Health Methodist cared for 100 assault patients in July compared to 67 in July of 2019.
“If you want to interpret it this way, people were feeling more comfortable to come back to the hospital,” said Morrison.
If you need help, you can call the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-332-7385.
If you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org for 24/7 chat or text LOVEIS to 22522.
The Crisis Text Line is a confidential 24/7 helpline for individuals in crisis – which can be especially helpful for individuals facing abuse or toxicity at home during self-isolation. Text HOME to 741741. Counselors are ready and available during this time, also, to specifically discuss emotional safety planning strategies around COVID-19.
You can find more resources on Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s website.