Domestic Violence Shelter & Services sees 116% jump in calls in last month from 2019

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — In the past month, the Domestic Violence Shelter and Services in Wilmington has gotten more than twice as many calls as it did this time last year.

Between March 16 and April 14, Direct Services & Outreach Director Mandy Houvouras says they’ve seen a 116% jump in the number of calls they’ve received from the same time in 2019.

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This past month, she says they’ve gotten 277 calls to the shelter’s hotline, compared to 128 calls during this time in 2019.

Houvouras says it’s not surprising to see domestic violence go up in times of crisis. However, she says a dangerous misconception is the idea that domestic violence is caused by stress.

“When we understand domestic violence, we know it’s about power and control,” she said. “These are difficult times for everyone, and it’s not easy to be cooped up in a house together, but what we’re not seeing is we’re not seeing people who have never been abusive before, where there’s been no history of violence or abusive behavior, suddenly becoming abusive overnight.”

Houvouras adds, isolation is a common factor in abusive situations. With the added isolation people are experiencing right now, plus the lack of being able to connect with support or escape a situation, she says those things can escalate an already abusive situation.

The shelter’s 24/7 hotline is still open during the pandemic, and resources are still available.

You can find more information about the resources offered by the Domestic Violence Shelter & Services here.