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Uptick in domestic violence during COVID-19 shelter at home; find out how you can help

Police scene Santa Barbara
John Palminteri

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Since the COVID-19 shelter at home, Santa Maria Police are seeing an uptick in domestic violence calls while Santa Barbara Police say they haven’t seen an increase. But the Santa Barbara County District Attorney says no uptick in reports doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

According to Santa Barbara District Attorney Joyce Dudley, the COVID-19 shelter at home is causing an increase in In-Home Crimes.

“What I refer to as in home crime is domestic violence, spousal rape, child abuse, elder abuse and animal abuse,” stressed Dudley.

Dudley says stress levels are rising for families from the back lash of the COVID-19 pandemic and from being stuck in the house - often away from others who can report the violence.

“And there is access to drugs and alcohol. A dangerous combination!” said Dudley.

The Santa Maria police report a steep increase in domestic violence calls but Santa Barbara police say they haven’t seen an uptick.

“That in NO way suggests to me that in-home crimes are going down, it suggests to me that people are too afraid to call,” said Dudley.

Santa Marian licensed therapist Ole Von Frausing-Borch warns the public about what he says is a national crisis during the COVID-19 shelter in place.

“The problem is these kids have no voice. They can't get on there and call 911. Call someone for help! There is a ton of help out there,” said Von Frausing-Borch.

If you or someone you know is struggling with coping and fear causing abuse to a child, contact CALM at - a local resource that can help. Or reach out to Domestic Violence Solutions at

“I'm asking neighbors to go back to the old fashioned being a good neighbor. Neighbors know!” said Dudley.

Dudley wants the community to know that help is here for those that seek it. And for the voiceless to know they are not alone.

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Naja Hill

Naja Hill is a reporter for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Naja, click here.

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