Domestic violence cases have nearly doubled in Wake County amid pandemic

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Domestic violence cases have nearly doubled and are becoming more violent in nature in Wake County during the pandemic.

“In times of great financial need and community crisis, such as natural disasters, domestic violence and sexual violence tend to spike, and the COVID pandemic is no different,” said Ryan Kelly, director of victim services at InterAct.

InterAct is the only provider of domestic violence and sexual assault services in Wake County.

“Ultimately, it does boil down to a dynamic of power and control,” said Kelly.

This year, they’re seeing nearly twice as many victims compared to last year. They’re on track to help 1,000 victims this month alone.

“The cases tend to be, have become, more severe,” said Kelly.

InterAct said they currently serve about 30 individuals a day in immediate crisis.

There have been nearly double the number of sexual assault victims and people considered to be in high-risk of immediate danger or death from July to the end of November.

“We are seeing an increased number in requests for shelter services,” said Kelly.

Kelly believes that’s because victims are having trouble finding safe places to stay because of concerns with COVID-19.

InterAct is not turning anyone away, but if needed will reach out to other organizations for help.

The pandemic’s also forcing them to move to virtual services when they can.

“Wake County’s a big community and we’re doing our best to meet the needs of all survivors in the community,” said Kelly.

The increased cases climb to the court system. There are tens of thousands of criminal and felony cases pending in Wake County right now.

District Attorney Lorrin Freeman says they’re still pushing domestic violence ones through.

“That’s a good example of why we can’t shut down and why we have to even under difficult circumstances, continue to bring our staff in, continue to hold court to continue to do our job of keeping the community safe,” said Freeman.

Advocates said although it’s been a difficult year, the support from the community has helped them immensely.

For more information on how you can help, click here.

If you are a victim in need of services, click here.

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