Cracking down on domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic

Updated: Mar. 26, 2020 at 6:04 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Families have spent days at home due to COVID-19. The sudden life changes could cause tension and in some cases lead to abuse.

Memphis police and a local family counseling agency are trying to help.

President of the Memphis Police Association Mike Williams is anticipating a rise in domestic fights due to COVID-19.

“What you're going to see is possibly domestic violence is going to increase, because now everybody's at home, getting on each other's nerves,” Williams said

The Memphis Police Department a message out to residents Thursday morning, reminding people that there is no excuse for domestic violence even while COVID-19 is causing families to live in isolation for an extended period of time.

Catherine Collins with Kindred Place, a family counseling agency, says one way to help children is to schedule activities.

“It's so important for families to have a measure of structure, and routine, and predictability. It’s especially important for families with children,” Collins said.

Kindred Place is offering virtual counseling and therapy for families, and they are waiving all fees.

For those concerned about calling a counselor or therapist while at home with their abuser, Collins encourages them to call while they are doing errands still allowed under safer-at-home orders.

“There are times when people have to go to the grocery store or have to get gas in the car,” she added.

Even if someone is not sure if it is time to ask for help, Collins said it is still better to call.

“It does no harm to call and talk with one of us and let us help evaluate the situation, resources and options,” Collins said.

The Memphis Police Department told WMC Action News 5 that they have not seen an uptick in domestic violence calls, but they want to remind people to call 911 if they are in immediate danger in their homes.

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