Capital Region

As residents stay home for COVID-19, Schenectady, Amsterdam departments see domestic violence call spike

Schenectady, Amsterdam seeing increases
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Categories: Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, News, Schenectady County

CAPITAL REGION — People being cooped up indoors has led to some localities seeing dramatic increases in domestic violence calls. 

The Schenectady Police Department responded to 86 domestic calls between March 2 and 8, a number that dipped to 78 the following week. 

But between March 16 to Thursday, city police responded to 148 calls.

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Among the more serious was a stabbing and strangulation, said county District Attorney Robert Carney.

“We anticipate [rising calls] may be an issue here,” Carney said.

The Amsterdam Police Department has seen an increase from eight calls in February to 15 so far this month.

Not all departments are reporting spikes, with both the Saratoga Springs and Colonie police departments reporting steady numbers (although Colonie has responded to more calls to people with mental health issue, officials said).

Domestic violence providers are preparing for an influx. 

“With increased feelings of isolation from society, along with employment and financial instability, we predict an increase in incidents and victims needing support from YWCA and other essential services during this time,” said Lauren Trunko, women and family services director for the YWCA of Northeastern NY.

People aren’t banned from going outside under the state’s directives, but non-essential gatherings are prohibited, and any concentration of people outside their homes must be limited to workers providing essential services. 

YWCA NorthEastern NY runs an emergency domestic violence shelter and hotline, as well as offers counseling, advocacy, economic empowerment counseling and permanent supportive housing options.  

The agency’s counseling and advocacy services have switched to conducting remote meetings, but staffers continue to assist victims and survivors as needed, according to Trunko.

While the YWCA’s shelter is currently at capacity, those needing assistance can call their hotline at 518-374-3386. Staff will be ready to provide information or help in getting victims to safety. 

Courts are continuing to issue orders of protection, with prosecutors in Schenectady County appearing remotely by Skype, Carney said. 

To access YWCA services, call 518-374-3394. For a 24/7 emergency domestic violence hotline, call 518-374-3386. YWCA can also be reached via email at [email protected]

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