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Live Mic: Pandemic driving up domestic violence rates

Photo: Getty Images.

SALT LAKE CITY — The stress of the coronavirus pandemic continues to rack up victims — in this case, from domestic violence.

The Salt Lake City Police Department reports a 17 percent increase in domestic violence over last year. And that number could be higher as some victims don’t have an opportunity to reach out for help.

BYU economics Professors Emily Leslie and Riley Wilson joined Lee Lonsberry on his KSL NewsRadio show, Live Mic, to discuss their research into the rise of domestic violence in 14 metropolitan areas across the nation.

Wilson said research shows an average 7.5 percent jump in domestic violence during the second week of March — the same week the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. 

Lee speculated that the recent rise in domestic violence came from people who committed this abuse before, but added, “you’re finding something different.”

Leslie said their research shows domestic violence incidents in areas that hadn’t had a history of recent abuse before.

Wilson said the data show a rise in domestic violence across the country before mandates were issued to stay at home.

He added the week the federal government began to mail stimulus checks to Americans coincides with a dip in the level of domestic violence. He said he wasn’t confident in a cause-and-effect relationship but said it’s worth further exploration.

Domestic violence resources

The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition operates a confidential statewide, 24-hour domestic abuse hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465). Resources are also available online: udvc.org.

People in abusive relationships can get help by contacting:

 

 

Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.