Officials: Be aware of domestic violence risks as you shelter in groups at home

Corona virus and Domestic Violence

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The current discussion on the coronavirus centers around the dangers of being around others outside the home. Some officials are watching for problems inside the home… like domestic violence.

Every year there are peak times for domestic violence, and there are some very standard factors: A lot of family members in close proximity, stress over finances, stir-crazy children. Usually the holidays are the season police see the highest numbers of domestic violence calls, but summer – when the children are out of school – is also a time to watch.

Now families are staying home instead of going to school, work, church, and numerous other activities because of the dangers of coronavirus. Sandy Middleton, director of the Mississippi Center for Prevention of Violence, says some homes could be at risk for domestic violence flare-ups, especially the ones where there’s already a history of such.

“Daycares are closed, schools are closed, a lot of people aren’t going to work, so even if we don’t get to a pure quarantine situation, we’re still talking about a lot of people being piled in together in homes,” she said.

Rankin County Chief investigator Brett MCAlpin said antsy children can also contribute to the stress in the home.

“They’re going to want to go outside and they’re going to want to see their friends, and if we’re going to have this quarantine situation, that’s not going to be possible,” he said.

With workplaces shut down, that can also be a financial worry, McAlpin said.

“In some cases that means with parents not at work, they’re not drawing a salary, which causes financial stress.”

If domestic violence breaks out, both McAlpin and Middleton urge you not to hesitate to call. Neither law enforcement or domestic violence shelters are closed for the coronavirus.

“We want to make sure that if any victim is in a home where domestic violence may be present, to please reach out to us, our sister domestic violence shelters across the state are also open. We’re just like a hospital, we stay open 24/7,” she said.

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