Resolve, Bivona: Home isn’t always the safest space

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Local centers say bigger spike in reported domestic abuse post-pandemic

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) Nationally, the shut-in orders are seeing rises in abusive behaviors across the board, especially when it comes to domestic violence.

Reports are mixed in Rochester area. Some show numbers that are actually down, some up. But those at two local centers that deal with domestic abuse say make no mistake: it’s still happening and post-pandemic, expect a major spike in reported cases. 


“People are drinking more, people are using more, people are not at work, or people are laid off…all those are huge, huge stressors,” says Mary Whittier with domestic abuse center Resolve.

Whittier says if someone is stuck with an abuser in the same house, it’s going make it harder to break away, or call for help. “For many people: women, children, some men even…home can be the most dangerous place to be,” she says.

Whittier says domestic violence comes in various forms, not just in a hurtful physical way. It can be psychological, sexual, even financial.

While some official local reports of domestic violence are down, Whittier says the State’s domestic violence hotline had a 30% jump in calls for April. Whitter says many saw this coming. 

“(Earlier this year) we all said the same thing: We’re going to see an increase in domestic violence, (and) child abuse,” she says.

Deb Rosen with the Bivona Child Advocacy Center says their reported numbers are down, but don’t think abuse at home isn’t happening. 

“For some children, home is not a safe place,” says Rosen.

Rosen adds children stuck indoors now lack access to teachers, coaches, and extended family who usually report abuse. Rosen and Whittier say post-pandemic, expect a jump in cases when more people are free from isolation.

“Certainly as time goes on, we are going to see more and more requests for our services just because people just have the freedom then to call,” says Whittier.

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