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March, April domestic violence cases increase 22% from 2019


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A Mount Pleasant Police Department car sits outside Walmart on Dec. 12.

There has been a significant percent increase in domestic violence cases in recent weeks in Isabella County compared to the same time last year.

Between March 1 and April 22, there have been 66 reports of domestic violence in Isabella County. During the same time frame in 2019, there were 54 domestic violence complaints. This shows a 22 percent increase from last year.

In the city Mount Pleasant during March, 2020, there was only 1 recorded domestic violence. In May, 2020, there have been 12 reported cases of domestic violence, according to the Mount Pleasant Police Department records.

However, MPPD does not document domestic verbal disputes, but they do believe that there have been an increase in those cases as well.

“I think we have seen an increase in domestic disputes all together, whether it’s just an argument or an actual assault” said Mount Pleasant Police Officer Jeff Thompson.

People have been required to stay at home since Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a stay-at-home order on March 24 to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The order remains in effect until June 12.

“(Domestic aggression) is a trend right now in the nation with everyone being cooped up during the quarantine,” Thompson said. “We’re no different.” 

R.I.S.E. Advocacy is continuing to help survivors in Isabella County during the stay-at-home order. The organization provides support services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Clare, Gratiot and Isabella Counties. Kirstie Mason, the community engagement specialist at R.I.S.E., said the 24-hour crisis hotline has also seen an increase in phone calls since the coronavirus pandemic hit Michigan.

“Not only does the imposed isolation of a quarantine present more opportunity for abusers to abuse, but also decreases the opportunity for survivors to rely on their support network or other resources,” Mason said. 

The organization's 24-hour crisis line and emergency shelter are staffed, and team members are still able to provide advocacy during sexual assault exams at the hospitals, Mason said.

Call the R.I.S.E. 24-hour crisis line at (844) 349-6177 or visit www.riseadvocacy.org for additional information on R.I.S.E. services.

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