“Over the last week we’ve seen about a 20 percent increase in domestic violence calls,” said Mayor Luke Bronin, D – Hartford.
And with fears the real number is even higher, the city is now taking action.
“We decided to incorporate a new Domestic Violence Response Unit,” said Lt. Paul Cicero of the Hartford Police Department.
Cicero says they’re going to start with two teams, each with two officers, working day and night.
They will be dedicated to responding to domestic violence calls for the foreseeable future.
“If we continue to see those numbers go up gradually obviously those four are going to need more assistance and we might need to have more resources and more officers join them,” said Cicero.
“The research has actually shown after 9/11 and the Great Recession that there were spikes in domestic violence. So we’ve anticipated it, sad to say,” said Mary-Jane Foster, Hartford Interval House's president and CEO.
Foster says the coronavirus crisis creates potentially dangerous conditions including allowing abusers to isolate their victim from other people.
“Now everyone is in a household together and not only is there total control over the victim but there are all those other triggers; the job, the finances, the kids at home, the learning at home. All of those other potential triggers are present as well,” said Foster.
Foster says if people think a friend or loved one might be in trouble the most important thing you can do is remain connected.
“Let them know that you are there. All it takes is an email or text and just say, ‘Hi, checking in. Saying hello. How are you? Anything I can do to be of help?’” said Foster.
Experts said it’s important for potential victims to know there is someone they can reach out to.