Prosecutors across the state Thursday announced an online campaign intended to help victims of domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The campaign includes a video public service announcement and awareness messages. Some will be posted on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms, with a new post each day for one week.

The posts provide information for victims with resources, such as 24-hour hotlines for reporting abuse. They also provide tips for concerned friends, relatives and educators to help victims.

Tips and resources also can be found at the Prevent DV1 website. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 800-799-7233.

Officials created the campaign, announced Thursday in a virtual news conference, to combat an unintended consequence of COVID-19 public health measures. With victims facing increasing stress at home, the authorities noticed an alarming rise in domestic violence.

“These unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic appear to have unleashed more domestic violence in the home with victims feeling trapped with their abusive partner, and children as collateral victims,” said San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan.

“We want victims to know that they are not alone and our DA Victim Services, local and national organizations and law enforcement continue to be ready, despite the pandemic, to help them get to safety and give them the help and resources they need.”

The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports an increase in contacts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reports show that physicians are treating more domestic violence injuries and that they are more severe.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly one in six homicide victims die at the hands of an intimate partner. Statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence indicate that one in three female murder victims are killed by intimate partners.

In San Diego County, domestic violence incidents showed an uptick through the first six months of 2020. Authorities received 8,495 reports of incidents this year, compared to 8,235 in the first half of 2019, according to the San Diego Association of Governments.

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California, Robert Brewer, said the data showed notable increases in domestic violence cases in Santee, El Cajon and National City.

“Domestic violence plays a significant role in how we prioritize federal prosecutions,” Brewer said. “We frequently consider past domestic violence arrests and convictions in both firearms and immigration prosecutions.

“That type of criminal history serves as a possible indication of anger and impulse control issues, which makes a defendant a larger threat to public safety, especially when a firearm is present. As a result, the Department of Justice has urged all U.S. attorneys to aggressively prosecute firearms violations in order to disrupt the escalating cycle of violence.”

– City News Service

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