Detroit police see rise in domestic violence calls during the pandemic

Posted at 1:54 AM, Aug 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 16:42:42-04

WXYZ — "Love is never supposed to hurt".

Simple yet eye-opening words from a victim-turned-survivor, who's determined to be a guiding light for others.

Treasure wants women and men who face domestic violence to know that now is the time to ask for help.

"Never hesitate. You never know when it will be the right time. It may not ever be the right time, and you don't want to wait, and unfortunately it can be the last time."

Domestic violence calls continue to surge during the pandemic. National data shows an 8% increase, and Detroit is no exception.

Detroit police received more than 1,300 reports of domestic violence between March 2020 and March 2021.

Here's the good news: 572 victims agreed to receive support from nearby advocates like Treasure.

Treasure works with Detroit Police's Fifth and Seventh Precincts to help make a difference. That includes sharing resources with the women and men she assists.

On the top of the list? Jefferson East, Inc., a neighborhood nonprofit that serves Detroit's east side -- and the Center for Urban Studies at Wayne State University.

The two organizations teamed up in 2013, after learning that nearly 50% of aggravated assault cases in Detroit are classified as intimate partner violence or domestic violence.

"Our advocates go to the survivors so we can meet in their home, their neighborhood, in a local coffee shop. Wherever they feel comfortable, we will meet."

That's the promise from Kate Oleksiak, the Project Coordinator of the Community Advocacy Project at Wayne State University's Center for Urban Studies.

Volunteers there are seeing double the survivors during the pandemic. At times, the surge created a struggle.

"To the point where we had a waiting list of a survivors who were waiting for help," Oleksiak shared with 7 Action News.

Josh Elling, the CEO of Jefferson East, Inc., explains the critical needs police and advocates are ready to address.

"They can get them into shelters, they can help them with advice on the legal systems, develop safety plans. But also we work to help victims issue Personal Protection Orders against the abusers."

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, never hesitate to call 911. There are plenty of other resources also available at your fingertips.

Detroit Police Victim’s Assistance Program offers support 24/7: 313-833-1660
National Domestic Violence Hotline offers confidential support 24/7: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
Center for Urban Studies at Wayne State University: 313-577-1428