According to Lt. Troy Thurston, the Logan City Police Department has responded to 265 incidents related to domestic violence since Jan. 1, and 104 of those occurred after March 15 — right around the time Utah started issuing “stay at home” initiatives.
“As people become more confined, and are restricted to the areas that they can go, they are unable to get away from individuals or situation and have to stay in them, to continue in that violent cycle or an argumentative cycle, and they can't distance themselves from it," Thurston said. "And so that presents a problem.”
Though the police department has responded to fewer calls this year than last year at this time, it doesn’t mean cases of abuse are down, according to James Boyd, the development and marketing director for Citizens Against Physical & Sexual Abuse, or CAPSA.
“Throughout this crisis," Boyd said, "CAPSA — we have been quite a bit busier.”
Since coronavirus-mitigation efforts began in Utah, Boyd says CAPSA has been able to continue providing services, albeit with adaptations.
“Some of them we’re having to modify, use technology to do some remote therapy and casework, but all of our numbers across the board are up," he said. "Our shelter numbers, even with the restrictions and the social distancing steps we've taken of reducing the number of people in our in-house shelter, our shelter numbers are up. We've had to utilize hotels and other offsite shelter facilities to provide the same level of service. For example, last year during March and April we had 41 shelter clients. This last two months we've had 60.”
While domestic violence calls to Logan City Police Department are down about 20% from last year, Boyd says calls to CAPSA’s crisis line are up 120-122%.
“All of our numbers are on the rise," Boyd said, "which means the abuse is occurring at a higher rate, but also people are reaching out for support at a higher rate.”
Since many Utah State University students not from Cache County returned home when the university transitioned online, Boyd said clients are staying at CAPSA’s shelter for fewer nights due to a higher than normal availability in affordable housing in the area.
CAPSA's 24-hour crisis line can be reached at 435-753-2500 or via CAPSA.org.