NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – When the pandemic began, there was immediate concern for the impact on domestic violence victims.
Advocates reacted quickly to make sure protections were still in place. While they’ve had some success, there’s still some holes.
A spokesperson for the family safety center says this is not a direct result of COVID-19, but more severe violence is.
“We were immediately concerned when all this social isolation and distancing started,” Diane Lance of the Family Safety Center said.
During a pandemic, not everyone is safer at home, a reality domestic violence advocates at the Metro Family Safety Center worked quickly to mitigate.
Victims are now able to file an order of protection against an abuser without leaving their home and skip the hearing the court.
“They can tell us what happened, and we can notarize for them their order of protection we get in docu-signed by the victim, and no hearing at all in front of a commissioner which has been a real help,” Lance said.
The new process has been a success as the center successfully filed nearly 1,500 order of protection in the last six months. That number looks similar to other years, but the content does not.
The people that are seeking help from us the violence in the home is more severe than what we had seen prior to this virus and that is a national trend,” Lance said.
Unfortunately, reports of strangulation, assaults with weapons and threats to kill have risen.
“The concerns right at the onset of the virus was that violence would go unreported, that it would be harder to report and maybe people are waiting until that tipping point until they’re coming forward," Lance said.