The coronavirus pandemic forces people to stay home to avoid spreading the virus, and that has led to more domestic violence victims being isolated with their abusers.
Domestic violence calls in parts of New York State increased 15 to 20% since New Yorkers were told to stay home at the end of March, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on April 3.
In Cattaraugus County, domestic violence calls have increased, according to Mason Maynard, director of victim services at Cattaraugus Community Action Inc., a not-for-profit organization that provides services for people in need so that they can reach economic, physical and emotional stability.
“Domestic violence is probably happening more intensely and more frequently than normal,” Maynard said. “Existing cases have the same amount if not more need for regular contact, updates and services.”
But new cases have decreased, Maynard said.
Maynard said access points, such as doctors, nonprofits and other emergency services, moved services online. Because 30% of residents in Cattaraugus County do not have internet access, some people may not have access to these online services.
“It’s just impossible to social distance in a car,” he said.
All victim services at Cattaraugus Community Action are available, except for transportation, according to Maynard.
Individuals who need help, or know someone who needs help, should call the 24-hour Domestic Violence Intervention Hotline at 1-888-945-3970.
Trooper James O’Callaghan, New York State Police Public Information Officer for the Batavia-headquartered Troop A, said a reason for increased tension at home could be children.
“Just having the kids in the house, or maybe a rebellious teen or because of the fact there’s no school, there’s some childcare issues,” O’Callaghan said.
For more information on the Coronavirus in the Greater Olean area, visit TAPinto Greater Olean's Coronavirus Updates page, which is updated continuously.
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