State and federal law enforcement officials Thursday announced a joint online outreach campaign to help victims of domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The campaign includes a video public service announcement and public awareness messages posted on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms with a new post each day for one week. The posts provide information for victims with resources, such as 24-hour hotlines, vital to reporting abuse. They also provide tips for concerned friends, relatives and educators on how they can help victims of abuse.
“Domestic violence can be solved only by continuing to work effectively with our local partners,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna, a member of the Justice Department’s Domestic Violence Working Group. “We owe victims and their families our best efforts; we owe it to their children and to the broader community as well.”
Announced Thursday in a virtual press conference, the outreach campaign was created to combat an unintended consequence of COVID-19 public health measures — an alarming rise in domestic violence with victims trapped at home with their abusers under increasing stress.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline has reported an increase in contacts during COVID-19. Reports show that physicians are treating more domestic violence injuries and that they are more severe. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly one in six homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner.
Research further shows that abusers with a gun in the home are five times more likely to kill their partners than abusers who don’t have access to a firearm. Under federal law, individuals with domestic violence misdemeanor and felony convictions, as well as individuals subject to domestic violence protective orders, are prohibited from possessing firearms.
Earlier this month, the Justice Department announced it has charged more than 500 domestic violence cases involving firearms during the 2020 Fiscal Year.
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