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Domestic violence cases remain consistent during COVID-19 pandemic

Becky Campbell • May 17, 2020 at 7:33 PM

While other parts of the country have seen increases in domestic violence during the novel coronavirus pandemic, numbers in Johnson City and Washington County have remained on track with previous years.

As the virus caused the economy to shut down and people were urged to stay home, it wouldn’t have been unusual to see an increase in domestic violence cases. Looking at the statistics from the city and county, however, there hasn’t been a huge spike in cases.

Danielle Ostrander, director of the Family Justice Center, said even though there hasn’t been a spike in reported cases doesn’t mean there haven’t been more. 

“Based on our numbers from last year to this year we have neither seen an increase nor a decrease happening in domestic violence,” she said. “I’m basing that on the Family Justice Center numbers as well as the Johnson City police numbers.”

There has been a slight uptick in the number of reports, but nothing like other parts of the country has seen.

Here is a look at the Johnson City domestic violence numbers for this year and the past two years:

2018

• March: 24.

• April: 24.

• May: 16.

2019

• March: 31.

• April: 22.

• May: 26.

2020

• March: 28.

• April: 30.

• May: 20 (as of May 10).

“Domestic violence is still happening in our area,” but there haven’t been huge leaps in the changes, Ostrander said.  Also, the changes in the number of reports can’t be specifically related to the pandemic and there’s no way to measure that theory.

“There are also several reasons people don’t report domestic violence. I can’t say it’s due to COVID-19, but it could be a factor,” Ostrander said.”

In Washington County, the number of domestic violence report have fluctuated very little year to year. Here’s a look at the numbers.

2018

• March: 37.

• April: 39.

•May: 34.

2019

• March: 22

• April: 38

• May: 39

2020

• March: 33.

• April: 29.

• May: 6 (as of May 10).

“There are multiple barriers that keep people from reporting domestic violence,” Ostrander said. “Domestic violence is still happening.”

The Family Justice Center is part of the JCPD and offers services to domestic violence and sexual assault victims at no charge.

“We have advocates on site, we can help with order of protection paperwork, we have therapy onsite, some civil legal support services and we work very closely with our law enforcement in Johnson City and Washington County.

For more information about the center, call 722-3720.

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