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Domestic violence shelter hoping to raise awareness of rise in violence since pandemic

Published: Jul. 22, 2020 at 11:09 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A Tallahassee-based domestic violence shelter is raising awareness regarding the issue and is urging the public to be aware of anyone who may be at risk.

Refuge House points to the COVID-19 pandemic and a recent string of murders as the source of concern.

Meg Baldwin, the Executive Director of the Refuge House, says she was worried when Florida instituted a stay at home order because, she says, it would create conditions that were especially ripe for domestic violence, including increased interaction between the perpetrator and victim, as well as isolation from support networks and services.

Baldwin adds that her fears have been realized, most recently with the double murder in Perry on Friday, an incident police attribute to a domestic situation.

“We’ve had eight murders related to domestic violence and sexual assault in our Big Bend Community. That’s extremely high for that significantly short period of time,” Baldwin said.

In comparison, in all of 2019, Baldwin says there were only two homicides related to domestic violence.

However, there is a silver lining: The pandemic has forced victim’s advocates to be able to provide services digitally, and they can even now file protective orders entirely through Zoom.

For people who may not be able to get away long enough to use the phone, the Refuge House has set up an email to access their emergency hotline: helpdesk@refugehouse.com.

For more information on Refuge House, click here.

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