• Last modified 880 days ago (April 30, 2020)


Family agencies see no increase in cases

Staff writer

An agency that works with domestic violence and another that advocates for abused children in Marion County aren’t seeing increased caseloads during stay-home orders, but that doesn’t mean they don’t believe cases are increasing.

Courtney Becker, interim director of Safehope, a domestic violence agency, said the numbers of new cases is about the same as this time last year.

“In Marion County it looks we’re down,” Becker said. “When they’re isolated in the home with the abuser, this really doesn’t surprise me.”

The more rural an area is, the harder to find the safety to be able to reach out, Becker said.

Most of the clients Safehope works with are staying in their homes, Becker said.

Becker has concerns about jails releasing people arrested on suspicion of domestic battery because they often enough are released on their own recognizance after courts across the state have closed except for emergency hearings.

“For a lot of abusers, it takes a lot of consequences to change their behavior,” Becker said.

Veronica Bargdill, interim executive director of child advocacy center Heart to Heart, said numbers of child abuse reports made to them have not gone down, even though people required to report child abuse have less contact with children during the state’s stay-home order.

The agency expects to see an increase in cases referred to them when people who are mandated to report child abuse, such as teachers, child care providers, medical professionals, social workers, mental health providers, and law enforcement agencies have more contact with children.

“The cases that have been coming in have been a little more than normal,” she said.

Last modified April 30, 2020