Local groups work to fight domestic violence in pandemic

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Due to of the coronavirus outbreak, many families are at home spending more time together.

But for some, that can create even more stress brought on by uncertainty.

Some local groups said they don’t have the exact number as to whether domestic violence cases have increased in the past week, but they want families to know help is available during these stressful times.

“They are now being asked to stay in close quarters together for an indefinite period of time,” said Deborah Clubb, executive director of the Memphis Area Women’s Council. “Honestly, it’s terrifying.”

No matter where the zip code, the novel coronavirus is creating a new normal and maybe new problems.

Many families are together for endless hours, sometimes leading to stress heightened by fear of disease and the loss of income. In some cases, that can pave the way for abuse behind closed doors.

“We don’t want this current health epidemic, pandemic, crisis to exacerbate the number of domestic violence assaults and even homicides,” Clubb said.

Clubb is also the coordinator of the Memphis Says ‘No More’ campaign to end domestic violence and sexual assault

“If you are that filled up with anger, leave, take a walk, find some place safe in even some of our most troubled communities,” Clubb said.

Domestic violence isn’t just about the woman, mother or girl in an abusive environment, but also the children.

“But children of every age are at home now, and some of those homes are just not health places to be,” Clubb said.

Several Memphis agencies are providing assistance such as Kindred Place, a treatment center for families experiencing stress and the potential for conflict in their homes.

“I think it’s important for even a family who hasn’t yet gotten to the place where they’re worried about violence, if there are concerns managing conflict and communication, please call us,” Kindred Place clinical director Dr. Catherine Collins said.

It’s a phone call that can save lives in stressful times.

“In these times, any way people can take care of each other is more important than it’s ever been,” Collins said. “Please, if we can help, call.”

As many offices are closed, many agencies said they will also continue to help families through phone calls or video conferences.

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