Domestic violence intensifies during COVID-19

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – COVID-19 has affected nearly every aspect of our lives and domestic violence is no exception.

According to Tori Henninger, the executive director of Barren River Area Safe Space, domestic violence crisis calls to the Barren River Area Safe Space have shown more violent situations on average than before the pandemic.

“The feeling of uncertainty that we are all feeling right now, or most are experiencing right now, is a feeling that is very common to survivors,” said Henninger.

Domestic violence is all about power and control, something a global pandemic takes away from the abusers.

“In this situation, when an abuser feels attacked, they are going to hold on even tighter with that power and control and because there is something out of their control going on, they are going to wield what they do have with an even firmer fist,” said  Henninger.

Quarantine, unfortunately, made it more difficult for survivors to get help. That’s because the abuser was around more often, fewer people were able to check up on the survivor, and friends and family were less likely to take in a guest exposing their homes to the virus.

“As they began to navigate what this new normal looked like, where a person may not be able to get away from their abusive partner or they may be constantly stuck within the same four walls as their partner, a lot of our crisis calls turned into safety planning while in quarantine,” said Henninger.

While BRASS remained open and operational, jails wouldn’t take in some offenders and some resources were unavailable during the shutdown, according to Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron.

“When you don’t have those constant resources available, you are not going to be able to get at the root of the problem, therefore domestic violence is a cyclical type of criminal offense, and if you don’t break the cycle, you are going to continue to see it,” said Cohron.

BRASS is still open and still serving those in need during the pandemic.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 270-843-1183.