Is domestic abuse on the rise in the Rogue Valley?

MEDFORD, Ore. – Law enforcement and victims advocates worried early in the pandemic that domestic violence and child abuse cases would rise due to victims not able to get away from their abusers. However, whether these types of crimes are on the rise depends on who you ask.

Medford Police said it hasn’t seen a change in reported domestic abuse cases, this year versus last. The same goes for police in Grants Pass.

However, a Josephine County non-profit said they’re seeing an uptick in people reaching out for help. They suspect while COVID-19 isn’t the cause of these numbers, it definitely adds another layer of stressors.

The Women’s Crisis Support Team is a Grants Pass non-profit helping to end the cycle of domestic violence. The organization’s intervention program coordinator, Lindsey Bosman, said she’s definitely seen an increase in people needing help since COVID-19 restrictions took place.

“Even being in a domestic violence situation and adding the stay at home order on top of that. The isolation just increases,” said Bosman.

But Medford Police Lieutenant, Mike Budreau said his agency hasn’t seen a change this year.

“I think there was a perception that it was increasing with so many people being home and quarantine. All the stresses around covid and finances and all that stuff,” said Lt. Budreau.

From January to October of this year, Medford Police investigated 203 domestic violence-related cases. Last year in the same time frame it saw 206.

“These are very difficult cases. Sure, it’s easy to make the arrest that night, but it’s much more difficult to help the victim with the process after that,” said Lt. Budreau.

The relationship between the abuser and the victim is often so tied together victims don’t walk away, even after the abuse occurs. Many stay with them for a variety of reasons.

“When a survivor chooses not to report there’s a lot of probably underlying emotional tactics that have been used on them, that is preventing them from wanting to pursue that against their abuser,” said Bosman.

With the holidays approaching police worry there could be an increase in violence in the home late this year.

If you are in a domestic abuse situation and need help call (541) 479-9349.

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