Domestic violence cases growing during quarantine

Domestic violence cases growing during quarantine

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Shelter in place orders meant to curb the spread of the Coronavirus continues to become more common. What’s come with is police seeing a rise in domestic violence calls.

“Home is not always safe for everybody,” Michelle Turnbow, executive director of First Step said.

First Step provides services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault including counseling, shelter, and a 24-hour crisis hotline.

Michelle adds that they prepared for this rise and stocked up on supplies. She also thanks her staff for continuing to be there for those who need them the most.

“Now they are being quarantined in and being stuck at home with an abuser,” Turnbow said.

The Wichita Falls Police Department is aware of the rise in calls and has helped to put together resources for victims and are doing everything in their power to keep people safe.

“If it's not dealt with the right way that's why we are legally bound to make an arrest when there is an assault in a family violence situation in order to prevent any further assaults or something worse later occurring,” Sgt. Charlie Eipper, WFPD public information officer said.

Kerrie Wallace knows firsthand how hard it can be to take that first step, she’s a domestic violence survivor.

“If you are scared, it's ok to be scared epically if you're worried about what's going on in the world right now on top of what's happening in your home and you're not able to leave,” Wallace said.

While it can be difficult she knows what life can be like after the call’s been made.

“When you're at rock bottom the only way to go is up and you need a support group you need people that have been there that understand and can empathize with you and meet you where you're at, an that's what First Step is all about,” Wallace said.

“You deserve it, you deserve it and I know that phone call is the hardest thing to do but we are on the other end to be here for you,” Turnbow said.

Like many nonprofits, First Step needs supplies for their shelter. It’s common household items like toilet paper, soap, laundry detergent, that could help those in their care. To drop off a donation call their office phone at 940-723-7799.

If you are in an emergency always dial 9-1-1.

If you or someone you know is in a domestic violence or sexual assault crisis situation and wants information on what to do, you can call the First Step 24 Hour Crisis Hotline: 1-800-658-2683

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE

Texas Health and Human Services 24 Hour Coronavirus Mental Health Hotline: 833-986-1919

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