Domestic violence groups see surge in people asking for help | KOB 4

Domestic violence groups see surge in people asking for help

Tommy Lopez
Created: October 11, 2020 10:24 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Local organizations that help victims of domestic abuse believe many people were not asking for help during the pandemic, but recently there’s been a surge in help.

"It's not because the pandemic is going away, but it might be that people have finally concluded we don't know when this is going away, and so we're trying to get out and get help,” said Pam Wiseman, director of the Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Groups like the Domestic Violence Resource Center said they’re getting 60 to 80 calls a day.

"We anticipated that it would go up, but we also missed the mark on the quantity of volume,” said Vine Galbiati, director of the Domestic Violence Resource Center.

Galbiati said they’ve started to see more severe and violent incidents.

"What may have started as a push or a slap in an assault might have lasted maybe two or three minutes,” he said. “Now, because they're in the same vicinity for longer periods of time, those attacks will elongate to an hour."

“The most severe that I've seen over the last week—a fractured eye socket, fractured jaw, rib cage was completely kicked in. All indications were that the victim was unconscious and was continued to be beaten, and then sexually assaulted her 9-year-old daughter. We routinely see that level of severity,” he added.

Many groups said they believe the system doesn’t support victims enough.

"Our institutions need to send a message that domestic violence is not something that we tolerate in our community,” Wiseman said.

One victim KOB 4 spoke with said she feels like she has no protection. As an ER nurse, she said she sees many victims who suffered at the hands of people they live with.

"You see these victims come into the emergency department, and you wonder what happened prior to their arrival,” the woman said.

Those incidents hit close to home for her. She said she recently had an incident with her ex-husband.

"The system failed them the same way the system has failed me, and if there's nobody to protect you in this system, what are we to do,” she said. "At what point do people start caring?" 

The woman said she thinks police, prosecutors and judges all over Albuquerque don’t prioritize helping victims and points to the fact that it’s the victim’s job to make sure an offender is served with a restraining order.

"Which is not fair as a victim. And I understand why these women and these men and these people who are victims of domestic violence don't reach out. If they do reach out, they're met with these types of issues, and it is very frustrating,” she said  "It's scary, and it's almost like they're sitting ducks." 

Victim advocacy groups said they need more resources like funding on the federal, state or local level.

Some groups are currently working with the city of Albuquerque to be allowed more leeway for domestic violence workers to show up to domestic violence calls before police do.

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