Reports of domestic violence in NJ continue to climb since pandemic lull
New statistics suggest that incidents of domestic violence continue to occur at a higher rate than usual in the Garden State.
As predicted by survivor advocates, reports of domestic violence hit a snag during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, but increased as restrictions eased and victims had more opportunities to seek help. ‘aid.
Today, groups continue to work to help survivors and their families — those who have agreed to pick up the phone — navigate their next moves.
“The numbers are still high, we’re still getting a lot of calls,” said Mira Moreno, program director at the Center for Hope and Safety in Rochelle Park.
In 2021, calls to the center’s 24/7 hotline totaled more than 7,500, representing a 23% increase from 2020. The center’s 2021 program statistics indicate “a high number of ‘domestic violence incidents,’ the group said.
STATEWIDE HELPLINE: 1-800-572-SAFE
Among domestic violence programs that receive funding from the Department of Children and Families, there was a 37% increase in phone calls in 2021, compared to 2020, according to the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence. And there was a 53% jump in the number of victims housed.
“The time it takes to serve each client and the number of services each client needs has also increased,” said Nicole Morella, director of policy and education for the coalition. “And in some cases, because of this increased need, we now also have waiting lists.”
The coalition is advocating for additional funding for victim services in the next state budget; they also focus on creating more affordable housing options.
According to Morella, hundreds of families are living in hotels across New Jersey, with no permanent housing lined up.
The Center for Hope and Safety noted that many survivors “have to be very brave” to make their first call to a service provider.
“Even if you’re not ready to leave, we’re still here to talk to you,” Moreno said.
Beyond initial services, the center offers survivor “recovery” assistance, including career counseling and financial workshops.
Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]
Click here to contact an editor about a comment or correction for this story.