Domestic violence experts around the country braced for an increase in abuse at the start of the coronavirus pandemic: The crisis had the disruptive markings of a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina, when domestic violence reports nearly doubled, with economic effects similar to those of the Great Recession, when rates of intimate partner violence surged across the country. But while many cities have reported increases in the number of calls to hotlines and law enforcement, domestic violence shelters say they are still waiting for survivors to show up at their doors. At the Violence Intervention Program, the only domestic violence program in New York City that works specifically with Latinx survivors, shelter occupancy rates were down 5 to 10 percent last month—a noticeable difference for a shelter that only has about 50 beds. At the same time, the number of people calling to seek shelter markedly increased. On the week of April 19, the shelter saw the most traffic to their hotline it had seen all year, according to executive director Margarita Guzmán. The number of calls only increased from there. The program’s shelters use what is known as a “scattered-site safe dwelling”—a network of apartments in which families have their… Read full this story
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