PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - While law enforcement reported a spike in domestic violence calls during the pandemic, there are signs things are starting to slow down. However, advocates who help survivors and their families say they are seeing a different trend. “We do know we have a community issue,” says Myriah Mhoon, CEO of New Life Center.
Now that places are opening up after the stay-at-home period, Mhoon says, New Life shelters are full again. Even though fewer people came to them for help during the worst part of the pandemic, Mhoon says, advocates could tell the violence was still happening.
"We received a lot of dropped calls because again, a lot of times in these situations the victim was sometimes in the same room or house as their perpetrator,” says Mhoon.
On Tuesday night, two domestic violence incidents in the Valley led to police shootings. In Phoenix, police shot and killed a suspect who came at officers with a knife, police say. Half an hour later in Mesa, investigators there shot at a man who threatened his wife with a rifle before aiming at officers, police say. Children were involved in both incidents, and they were not hurt.
Numbers provided by Mesa Police show halfway through 2021, the department is on pace to respond to fewer domestic violence calls than 2020. Phoenix police are on track to investigate fewer domestic violence homicides. So far this year, there have been 11 domestic violence murders, after 2020 saw an alarming 44 of them
The Biden administration announced on Monday it is allocating $200 million from the American Rescue Plan to support services for survivors of domestic violence following a rise in cases during pandemic lockdowns.
Mhoon says the numbers don’t tell the whole story because domestic violence can happen in the shadows. She says people can get help by calling their 24-hour crisis line at (623)-932-4404 or clicking HERE.
"We are picking up the phone sometimes in the middle of the night and throughout the day,” says Mhoon. “There are people that are willing to not only listen but actually help and respond to these cases."