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Pandemic brings rise in domestic violence cases, non-profits needing community’s help

Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 5:54 PM EDT
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OWOSSO, Mich. (WJRT) - On the rise.

According to data from the National Domestic Violence Hotline, calls placed into the hotline rose 9% nationally from March 16 to May 16 this year compared to the same time period last year.

In Michigan, out of more than 1,800 cases from January to June – 97% of those involved emotional and verbal abuse.

And that means places like the Owosso Safe Center have been at full capacity since the pandemic began.

And now, they too are finding themselves in need of a little help and support.

“The numbers tell us that people are in trouble. People are experiencing abuse behind closed doors," said Hannah Gottschalk, executive director.

Recent data from the National Domestic Violence Hotline shows out of close to 1,900 cases in Michigan this year, 50% of those cases involved needing legal help and shelter combined.

“There’s been a lot of back and forth between kids going to school and not going to school, people losing their jobs, more stress more tension,” Gottschalk said.

And that means more abuse, covering a wide spectrum including verbal, physical, sexual and financial.

And more cases means more people needing help.

“We’ve been operating at 50% capacity and then we’ve had to motel folks off site who qualify for our services when we’re at capacity,” she said.

The Owosso Safe Center has been at full capacity since March. Normally they’re allowed to house 50 people, but because of CDC guidelines, that number is now 20.

While Gottschalk is grateful they’ve been able to stay open and provide their services—

“There’s so much uncertainty and so much fear around what’s going on that a lot of the support that we would normally receive throughout the year has been greatly diminished.”

Which is why Gottschalk is turning to the community for help during a telethon fundraiser happening Wednesday evening and all day Thursday.

Those wanting to make a donation can call 989-723-9716.

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