Domestic violence rates on the rise

By Jessie Wagoner

The McPherson Police Department has seen a significant increase in the number of domestic violence reports since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The number of domestic violence incidents so far in April are almost triple the amount from April 2019. 

McPherson Police Captain W.J. Cummins took a look back at 2019 case numbers to provide a comparison. The numbers include both information reports, which are non-criminal and criminal reports. 

This year in March, we took 17 domestic disturbance cases, compared to eight in 2019,” Cummins said. “For April, up to April 23, this year we have taken 14 domestic disturbance cases, compared to five for the same date range in 2019.” 

McPherson Police Department Administrative Captain and Public Information Officer Mark Brinck says the increase is likely related to the changes and stressors that have taken place due to COVID-19. Though the pandemic has caused many changes, Brinck advises law enforcement is still responding to cases and is available to assist victims of domestic violence. 

“McPherson Police Officers continue responding to calls, taking action and providing assistance or referrals,” Brinck said. “Assistance from the police department in an emergency is still available through McPherson County Emergency Communications, by calling or text messaging 911. In a non-emergency situation, assistance can be obtained by calling McPherson County Emergency Communications at (620) 245-1266 or 1267. We encourage anyone in need of assistance with domestic violence to call Safehope via their 24-hour Help Line at (800) 487-0510 or (316) 283-0350.” 

Safehope, based in Newton, provides advocacy and support to all survivors and secondary victims of domestic and sexual violence in Harvey, Marion and McPherson counties. Safehope creates a safe environment for survivors to understand the resources and options available to them and get support as they begin to heal from the trauma. Their services are available 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, advocates are still available to provide assistance. 

“Although we all are physically distanced at this time for personal and public health and safety, we can still be socially connected,” a statement on the Safehope Facebook page says. “Safehope encourages all people, especially victims and survivors, to be connected to those you trust and with whom you have mutual respect. 

To be connected to and to talk to a victim advocate, call the Safehope Crisis Hotline at 800-487-0510.”