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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Advocates report increase in domestic violence during pandemic

Incidents of stalking and harassment are up 66 percent and domestic violence incidents where the victim is strangled by their abuser are up 212 percent.

INDIANAPOLIS — The effects of COVID-19 have spawned more than just a health crisis. 

Ask the folks at Beacon of Hope Crisis Center, who deal with victims of domestic violence and they’ll tell you the pandemic has brought on another kind of crisis. 

“It’s like an avalanche,” said board spokesperson Jackie Bowman. 

Bowman said the center’s advocates are seeing more people facing some form of domestic violence since last year. 

“We have seen a remarkable increase in not the just the number of calls that we get, but the complexity we get,” Bowman explained, who said requests for protection orders are up 148 percent since last year. 

Incidents of stalking and harassment are up 66 percent and domestic violence incidents where the victim is strangled by their abuser are up 212 percent.

“In the past, we’ve seen an increase in calls after the holidays, when everybody was home and in a high-stress situation,” said Bowman. 

Now, that high-stress situation is COVID-19 and all that comes with it, like unemployment, working from home, or being stuck inside, often times with a partner or family member who is abusive.

That has made reaching out for help more challenging. 

“How do you have a tele-advocacy, if they’re not somewhere where they can have a confidential conversation with an advocate,” said Bowman, who explained the center’s advocates are all working remotely and doing counseling over the phone or online. 

RELATED: Donate to Beacon of Hope

Still, Bowman said, if you are victim, there’s help out there, even during a global pandemic, if you can get to a phone and safely make a call. 

“Pick up the phone. Call us and we will work with you to figure out how to get you the help that you need,” she said.

The center’s number is 317-731-6140. The hours of operation are from 8:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.