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Nonprofit Helping Survivors of Domestic Violence is Seeing Uptick in Tulsa During Pandemic


Statistics in Tulsa support the notion that the incidence of domestic violence is up during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Domestic Violence Intervention Services reported a 22% increase in crisis line calls the first six months of the year compared to the same period in 2019, and Tulsa Police handled 192 more domestic violence calls from January through July 2020 than in the same span of 2019.

DVIS Executive Director Tracey Lyall said with courts closed for part of that time, however, emergency protective order filings were accessed through law enforcement agencies and were down sharply.

"Often, survivors of domestic violence don’t trust police and law enforcement. It can escalate their situations sometimes. So, I think maybe there was a reluctance for people to reach out through law enforcement. We also know that the information about how to access them was rolled out pretty slowly," Lyall said.

The organization has also faced logistical challenges due to the pandemic. Lyall said DVIS has $61,000 in unplanned expenses from putting survivors in hotels for quarantine periods before they come to their shelter, and some for even longer.

"We have many clients who work and were leaving our shelter to go to their place of employment. Again, we didn’t want them to be going to very public places and then possibly bringing back the virus into the shelter. So, we also put them in hotels," Lyall said.

DVIS is available 24 hours a day by calling 918-743-5763, or 918-7HELP-ME.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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