Since Gov. Charlie Baker declared the COVID-19 state of emergency a month ago, Edgartown police dispatches have been fairly consistent with past years, but with one glaring exception — compared to this time last year there has been a more than 42 percent increase in domestic disturbance calls.
Addressing town residents in a video, Edgartown Police Chief Bruce McNamee said the increase is not only a local trend. “Sadly this is a trend that police departments across the country are also experiencing,” McNamee said.
To address this issue, program director for M.V. Community Services CONNECT to End Violence Jennifer Neary, joined in the video to explain the services available to people in unsafe situations.
“As we all know, domestic violence, whether physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual, occurs behind closed doors,” Neary said. “During the time that we’re supposed to stay home for the safety and health of our community this can be especially frightening for survivors.”
Trained domestic violence and rape crisis counselors are available 24/7 through CONNECT’s confidential crisis hotline. Counselors can also be contacted through their offices, Facebook, or Instagram.
Neary said counselors are there to listen and sort out options such as setting up appointments for ongoing support, navigating an order of protection against abusers, to contact police, or to seek medical attention following an incident of domestic violence or sexual assault.
All CONNECT services are free, confidential, and can be accessed through phone or through social media.
Similarly, Independence House, a domestic violence prevention counseling and advocacy center in Falmouth, is open and also has a 24/7 hotline.
“The Independence House board of directors is conveying our deepest concern and affirmation, and we actively support the well-being and safety of survivors,” a press release from Independence House states. “Let’s take this emergent time to help make certain everyone has a right to a life without violence.”
CONNECT 24/7 crisis hotline: 508-696-7233
CONNECT counselor offices: 774-549-9667
CONNECT website: bit.ly/mvcsctev
CONNECT Facebook: @CONNECTtoendviolence
CONNECT Instagram: @connecttoendviolence
Independence House 24/7 hotline: 800-439-6507
Independence House website: independencehouse.org