Parts of Southwest Michigan see spike in domestic violence calls
VAN BUREN COUNTY, Mich. --- Some local counties are seeing an increase in domestic violence related calls, likely related to more people staying at home with their spouses.
Officials at the Domestic Violence Coalition in Van Buren County say they’ve seen a drastic increase in calls relating to abuse at home across Southwest Michigan.
The organization says they typically have to file about four protection orders for callers on a weekly basis but, in just three days last week, they filed eight protection orders and had four cases where someone violated a protection order.
Melanie Hooker with the Domestic Violence Coalition says the spike in cases is something they expected to happen with stay at home orders in place.
“In the last week and a half it has quadrupled,” Hooker said. “Prior it was really slow, we were like ‘what’s going on?’ but I think as this stay at home order is continuing, things are getting more tense at home, you know people are unsure about finances, who knows.”
If you’re experiencing domestic violence at home Hooker says it’s important to do your best to first de-escalate the situation, then seek help by calling the police. She wants to debunk the myth that police are not making domestic violence arrests.
“We’re seeing the numbers, it’s happening, so call the police. Call your local police department first, and then call us or your local domestic violence organization.”
Despite the spike in cases, Hooker says her organization is prepared to handle the uptick.
“We have 27 volunteers that are ready to just go pick them up, take them to a shelter if that needs to be, they’ll bring them to an office if we need to. We can get them safe, we can get the paperwork rolling. It’s not a magic force field but it is something that can help because then the police can go out and make arrests for threats and harassment,” Hooker said.
If you’re in Southwest Michigan you can contact the Domestic Violence Coalition for help by calling(888) 655-9008. You can also call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline anytime at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).