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Family Violence Prevention Center bracing for rise in domestic cases

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WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – The Wheeling YWCA’s Family Violence Prevention director believes the stay-at-home order to prevent the spread of COVID 19 is perhaps putting domestic violence victims at higher risk.

Program Director Trish Flanigan says the abusers and their victims are in even closer quarters than ever. The abuser may be laid off or unemployed, and increasingly frustrated and angry. She says abusers already use isolation as a powerful tool to control their victims.

Right now she’s not seeing a rise in the numbers of cases. But she believes they may see a lot, once the order to stay home is lifted.

“Our domestic violence prevention program will never close because we know it’s needed more than ever,” Flanigan noted. “People can still call 1 (800) 698-1247. There will be an advocate there 24 hours a day. Even in this pandemic, we are open 24 hours a day to take your crisis calls.”

She says the abuser may become more controlling, demanding that the victim perform chores constantly, and may limit their TV viewing options, or even prevent them from watching TV at all. She said their shelter has residents in it right now, but she believes there may be many more in the near future.

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