Domestic violence cases in Sioux Falls up nearly 12% amid the pandemic
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. With the pandemic keeping people in their homes or quarantined, in potentially harmful situations, shedding light on the subject is as important as ever.
In Sioux Falls, the number of domestic violence cases has increased by 11.5% since last year, that according to figures from Officer Sam Clemens of the Sioux Falls Police Department. (See figures below)
***Figures from SFPD
Aggravated Assault Domestic / Simple Assault Domestic
2020 (through Sept.): 362 / 977
2019: 343 / 857
2018: 270 / 855
2017: 256 / 907
While Clemens couldn’t attribute the uptick in domestic disputes directly to the pandemic, he says it’s safe to assume the factors surrounding COVID-19 have played a part.
“Some of that stuff may be financial if people lost their jobs or were furloughed, there could be time people already have problems in their relationship and now they’re spending more time together, it could be something as simple as school getting canceled this spring," Clemens said.
Children’s Inn Operations Director Amy Carter says Children’s Inn has actually seen their requests for shelter services decrease amid the pandemic. However, their crisis call volume has increased.
“What that tells us is that people aren’t necessarily feeling like they are able to leave a situation, but they are still experiencing that and wanting help, so they’re reaching out by phone," Carter said.
With millions of women and children experiencing domestic abuse each year, Carter says October isn’t the only time to be aware of the ongoing problem.
“We would like to think that domestic violence doesn’t happen in our community, or that it’s something that won’t affect me or somebody I know, but in reality, it does affect 1 in 4 women in their lifetime," Carter said.
Victim service providers, like Children’s Inn, are actively working with the SFPD to reduce domestic violence in the Sioux Empire. But, both Carter and Clemens agree, it’s going to take a community-wide effort to truly address the issue.
“There’s a lot of different stakeholders involved, and it’s something that’s bigger than the police, it’s not something that we’re going to be able to solve on our own," Clemens said.
If you or someone you know has fallen victim to domestic violence, reach out for support, or call 911 in an emergency.
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