Domestic Violence & Covid-19
Riverside County has seen an increase in domestic violence complaints due to the Covid-19 ‘shelter in place’ orders as families. Here is the amended order.
COVID-19 and Domestic Violence
Riverside County has seen an increase in domestic violence complaints due to the shelter in place orders in 2020. As couples and their family members contend with financial stress, isolation, alcohol and drug dependency, and anger management issues, reported incidents are rising – sometimes dramatically. If you find yourself in this situation, you are not alone.
I am Joseph Galasso, a former prosecutor and now a criminal defense attorney. My office is here to help you, whether or not you are the victim, or you are the target of a false or exaggerated complaint.
With tensions running high during these difficult times, you could be vulnerable to domestic violence accusations. Unemployment is skyrocketing and families are adjusting to their new 24 hour, seven day a week lockdown requirements.
These lockdowns, whether mandated by government or self-imposed, may repeat beyond 2020 if the Covid-19 virus returns (like the flu does) year after year until a vaccine or reliable treatment is developed. It is understandable that the fallout and harmful impacts of the coronavirus pandemic can overwhelm your emotions and behaviors, but the last of your concerns should be facing a domestic violence charge.
COVID-19 has most of us under house arrest by government mandate – or after the forced mandate is lifted – because we voluntarily remain sequestered ‘homebound’ because we, or a close family member, are more susceptible to Coronavirus due to their age or underlying health conditions. This 2020 era of ‘physical distancing’ measures forces many of us stay at home where we are living in isolation so we, as a society can save as many vulnerable lives as possible. Adhering to the COVID-19 lockdown and isolation measures is easy in theory, but extremely hard in practice. Living with another person can be stressful at times, even for a couple who are well balanced and treat each other well. Stress can add fuel to a simmering relationship fire.
Moreover, many of us now have to work from home and homeschool our children. Going forward, some K-12 schools, colleges and universities may open in fall of 2020 and some may choose not to, as the virus will surely return in various ‘hot spots’ throughout the country. School districts and universities across the country have already ‘written off’ returning in Fall of 2020 and are making contingency plans for classes in 2021. At the writing of this, the school administrators are considering smaller physical class sizes and the ongoing possible mix of classroom AND online learning resulting is more family members staying home for the foreseeable future into 2021 and beyond.
In addition to children, schools, students, faculty and all the people who work at our schools many people are laid off, out of work, or facing furloughs, thanks to the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not having a chance to get away from a domestic partner for hours or days at a time can create tremendous tension, even in the strongest relationships. Adding financial turmoil to the mix compounds that. Should finances crater and money get tight –or God forbid– someone in the family falls ill to the virus, the toll of COVID-19 stress can have on a fragile relationship can only be amplified and aggravated.
Police and law enforcement have reported an increase in calls involving domestic violence. Regarding this time, the restrictions put in place of trying to slow down the spread over the virus have resulted in most Americans confined to their home for weeks. Even during the ‘re-opening’ phases, many people are remaining home because their jobs are on hold, or they are laid off indefinitely, or because there are continued reports of Covid-19 ‘hot spots’ recurring where people are congregating too soon – as per news reports in May and June of 2020.
The economic impact of these measures has been felt by the vast majority of the country. Not surprisingly, ta corresponding and substantial increase in domestic violence calls and response to those calls by police. Police responding to domestic violence reports is attributed by police, health care professional and other experts directly to the COVID-19 prompted lockdowns combined with the financial stress of people losing their jobs, their income, and their purpose.
Unfortunately, many people live paycheck to paycheck and the financial stress increases the likelihood of domestic violence. Families are stuck in confined places with significant others and children day after day was no escape; tensions build, and there is no release. People typically get a break from their family during work hours. The 2020 Covid-19 confinement (mandated, voluntary or because of layoffs or furloughs, combined with the anxiety of health concerns associated with the virus, and potential financial stress can be the perfect storm lending to an argument that gets out of hand resulting in a domestic violence incident (or accusation). Either can put you in a precarious legal dilemma.
If you have been arrested for Domestic Violence you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Our office is open 24/7 to take your call and help you find a solution to your legal situation immediately.