Domestic violence calls rise during COVID-19 shelter-in-place in Santa Clara County

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- As the number of domestic violence cases continue to rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, Santa Clara County officials and community leaders are working to connect survivors of abuse with much-needed resources.

Since the beginning of the shelter-in-place order, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office has seen a 46% increase in calls for service related to family violence.

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Data collected by county officials also reveals a drop in the number of new victims seeking help from local agencies.

That's because they may be afraid to reach out for help while at home with their abuser or they assume that services aren't available during the lockdown.

"We are open for business," said Cindy Chavez, president of the Santa Clara County board of supervisors. "If you need us, we're going to be there for you."

The county says people should call or text 911 in the event of an emergency. Community members can also go online to Safe Chat Silicon Valley at designated times throughout the day to connect with a counselor. In addition, the YWCA crisis support line remains fully operational.

"The bottom line is that sheltering-in-place is not safe for everyone and we want to make sure that the message is amplified of support," said Tanis Crosby, YWCA of Silicon Valley chief executive officer.

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