PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — You will see many people sporting purple over the next few weeks.
October marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Events will be canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, but you can still make a difference by just knowing the signs.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, domestic violence has been on the rise during the pandemic. Victims are forced to spend more time around their abusers.
For domestic violence advocates, this has caused challenges in getting victims the resources they need. They hope October’s awareness will help draw necessary attention
The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence says more than 900,000 people were victims of abuse last year in the state.
“One-hundred-twelve women, children and men lost their lives to domestic violence,” said Julie Bancroft of the PCADV.
During the pandemic, the organization has noticed a decrease in requests for service but doubts cases are down.
“It was likely very difficult for people who were sheltering in place with their abusers to safely reach out for help,” said Bancroft.
The pandemic has also created new control tactics for abusers, as some are using money as leverage during a period of job loss.
“Keeping them from information about the pandemic and how to stay safe, hiding insurance cards or medications,” Bancroft said.
Entering October, the Pittsburgh Center For Victims hopes knowing what abuse looks like will help victims and their loved ones discover red flags.
“October matters,” Bancroft said. “It raises so much awareness that saves lives. It promotes healthier relationships and it stops domestic violence in its tracks.”
The center has found numerous ways of reaching victims discreetly during the pandemic. That includes providing services at doctor’s offices, pharmacies and food banks.
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