Women’s Resource Center: COVID-19 pandemic complicating war on domestic violence

Local News

BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — The ongoing battle against a global pandemic is giving no relief to the war on domestic violence.

Those with the Women’s Resource Center said COVID-19 is affecting their services, including help with identification. Incoming Program Director, Rosetta Honaker, explained agencies, like the Social Security Administration and the DMV, have longer waiting periods to get ID cards, which victims usually don’t have when fleeing to a shelter.

“Before you can try to get housing… get a job… anything at all, you have to have the identification,” Honaker said. “Getting their identification has proven to be a long and difficult task now. Whereas before, it was just a simple step.”

Another key problem involves the courtroom itself. Honaker argued delays in cases, and trials and hearings going virtual may not give the victim full justice.

“There’s a big difference between sitting in a courtroom, and seeing that victim and the impact the violence has made in their life… compared to just simply talking to them on the telephone,” Honaker said.

The Women’s Resource Center said their statewide programs noticed a jump in domestic violence cases as early as May. However, the exact numbers for 2020 are not final until the calendar year comes to a close.

As for a solution to the key problem, Honaker said to simply speak up.

“We’re stronger together,” Honaker said. “If you stand with them and give the information you have, it makes that case stronger. It makes the victim stronger.”

Advocates said 1 in 4 women will be victims of domestic abuse by an intimate partner in their lifetime. The same applies to 1 in 7 men.

If you see something, say something by calling the Women’s Resource Center at (304) 255-2559.

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