WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Law enforcement and counselors who work with domestic violence victims say unlike other years, they have not seen domestic violence calls increase this year.
And while that may sound like good news, they fear that victims are afraid to call for help.
“You would expect maybe there will be more calls at this time but in reality the opposite is happening,” said Suzanne Beck, Chief Program Officer, Victims Resource Center of NEPA.
So says Beck, who helps supervise the handling of domestic violence cases in a three county area: Luzerne, Wyoming and Carbon Counties, for the Victims Resource Center of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Beck says the COVID-19 pandemic is now forcing victims to be inside their homes for longer periods of time.
“People are spending more time at home potentially with their abusers, spending more time at home and potentially with their abusers, more time in close proximity with their abusers and certainly that gives us reasons to be concerned,” said Beck.
Beck says domestic violence victims may actually feel trapped inside their homes and not sure what to do.
“One, people may not be able to get to a safe place. They may not be able to make that phone call or reach out for services,” said Beck.
Beck urges people who feel they are in a dangerous situation to reach out.
“There is support, there is our 24 hour hotline working all the way through the holidays. So we encourage people when it’s safe to reach out and if it’s somebody you know provide them with the hotline number,” said Beck.
Beck tells Eyewitness News that once contact is made they can set up a safe meeting in person or a virtual meeting to handle the case.
And she urges domestic violence victims to call 911 if need be.
To contact the Victims Resource Center of Northeastern Pennsylvania, click here.