KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- The number of domestic violence calls in Kansas City is up 30 percent during the pandemic.
Social service providers are calling it a pandemic within a pandemic.
Any problems with domestic violence that already existed in the home may have been made worse with job loss, daycare closures and general stress.
COVID-19 also creates big issues for shelters that have domestic violence resources. They have more women and families to help, but the facilities can hold less people because of social distancing and safety guidelines.
The Newhouse Shelter, one of Kansas City’s longest operating shelters, says they’ve put people up in hotels, but they’re just not funded to sustain that.
The shelter has issued an emergency call for donations.
“Domestic violence never takes a break nd neither does Newhouse. And if we weren’t here, I don’t know where these victims would go to for safety and to receive the services they deserve," said Courtney Thomas, Newhouse president and CEO.
Executive Vice President of Clinical Services for Newhouse Bridgette Mavec said women in domestic violence relationships typically have higher rates of PTSD, suicidal thoughts, depression and anxiety. Mental health issues were made worse when women could not access resources during shutdowns due to COVID-19.
A new study from the Violence Policy Center ranks Missouri as the second worst state for cases of deadly violence against women.
One of the factors that makes domestic violence more deadly is gun ownership, which is part of the reason more women die in Missouri. All states listed in the top ten for highest number of females murdered by males, including Missouri, have a higher than average gun ownership rate.
The study from Violence Policy Center says deadly violence against women rose 20 percent in the past four years. The study looked at FBI data where there was one female victim and one male assailant.
It shows in Missouri that 92 percent of women knew their attacker and two thirds of them were in a relationship with them their attacker.
Thomas said domestic violence is a longstanding problem in Kansas and Missouri, but they are actively working to stop the cycle.
“There are a lot of things to be proud of in our states and our communities, but that is certainly a statistic we all need to take heed to and recognize and realize if we want to change it, we have to work together to change policy and create resources for survivors and work together to solve this community problem,” she said.