The number of Santa Clarita Valley domestic violence reports continue to show higher rates than it had last year, echoing a trend domestic violence experts are seeing throughout Los Angeles County.
Between July 1-20 of this year, there were 51 reported incidents of assault related to domestic violence, including aggravated assault, domestic violence; non-aggravated assault, domestic violence; and offense against the family, domestic violence. Over the same period last year, there were 32 such reports, indicating a 59% increase.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva have been sharing that while, generally speaking, reports for most types of crime are either on the decline or stayed relatively the same, domestic violence calls have been on the rise. SCV Sheriff’s Station officials did not respond to a request for comment as of the publication of this story.
And the problem is not isolated to the Santa Clarita Valley. Countywide, from Jan. 1 to April 30 of 2019, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department had 863 reports related to domestic violence. Over the same period this year, the number was 933, an increase of about 8%.
One of the major problems for victims, according to Krysta Warfield, program manager of the outreach center for the Domestic Violence Program at the Child & Family Center, is that they’re now trapped inside their home with their batterer.
And in the past, a simple trip to the store to run an errand could have given a victim a chance to head to the Sheriff’s Station or the center to make a report and seek services, but now there’s much less opportunity to get away.
“Victims don’t have opportunities in this pandemic, where they’re isolated with the batterer, to even reach out for assistance,” Warfield said. She’s had victims call the center from the car parked in the residence’s driveway since the onset of the pandemic, she added.
The services at the center’s Domestic Violence Program are still available, and the program is still helping victims file restraining orders.
For more information about services available at the Child and Family Center visit childfamilycenter.org/. For the Domestic Violence Program’s 24-hour crisis hotline, call 661-259-4357.