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Coronavirus Update: Nassau Reports Spike In Domestic Violence Incidents, Says Help Still Available

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Isolation can be challenging for anyone, especially people living with domestic violence.

Violence increases when you have circumstances such as unemployment and isolation, and unseen victims suffer out of public view, behind doors kept shut to keep out the virus.

Nassau County officials say help is still available during the coronavirus pandemic.

"For those who are in abusive households where domestic violence is a reality even in the most bustling of times, home can really start to feel like a trap," County Executive Laura Curran said Tuesday.

Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said domestic violence incidents are up about 10% compared to last year.

"People are home. If you've seen the lines, they're around the block at the liquor stores. Alcohol involved, arguments that do ensue, and a lot of pressure," he said.

Curran said the county is partnering with The Safe Center LI to open a second domestic violence shelter.

Live Now: Nassau County briefing on #coronavirus, domestic violence shelters and new 9-1-1 procedures

Posted by Laura Curran on Tuesday, March 24, 2020

In the meantime, the existing shelter remains open, along with the group's child advocacy center. Counseling, legal and educational services are also available online.

Safe Center's hotline can be reached 24/7 at 1-(516)-542-0404.

"We know that we're likely to see an increase in interpersonal violence during these really difficult times due to the increase in stress levels for people, as well as the fact that perpetrators and victims are spending more time together now that we are required to shelter at home," said Cindy Scott, executive director of Safe Center. "This situation also makes it difficult for victims to reach out for help."

Home can be intense for domestic violence victims due to the abuser's ability to further control. Victims and children who had some respite gong to work and school no longer have that outlet, Scott said.

"The fact that children aren't in school now is a concern to us because that's where the majority of our child protective service calls come from," Scott said.

Many social workers are unable to visit children and vulnerable adults now living in neglectful or abusive homes.

"If someone cannot call us directly because their abuser is in the room or in the home, please have a family member, a trusted friend to call us as well and we will reach out to them and try to get you help as soon as possible," said Keith Scott, with the Safe Center.

Hotline and online domestic violence counselors will be standing by to help those in need develop a safety plan.


The county also continues to see its number of coronavirus cases climb.

By noon Tuesday, Curran reported 2,869 positive cases, including 18 patients inside A. Holly Patterson nursing home.

Of the county's 10 deaths, the latest was an 85-year-old man from Oyster Bay.

Officials are launching a supply drive to collect things like masks, goggles, wipes and hand sanitizer for health care workers. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. five days a week at Eisenhower Park Field 3.

They are also asking businesses to complete a Hofstra University survey to help them assess the financial impact and how to best help the economy.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211

Curran said county golf courses and driving ranges will reopen starting Thursday. Visitors must reserve tee times online, no walk-ups allowed.

"We will extend the space between tee times so that social distancing will literately be a walk in the park," she said. "We're also limiting one person per golf cart, and driving ranges are open but it's every-other stall."

The county executive once again urged residents not to call 911 unless there is a "true emergency."

People wishing to report large gatherings or businesses that are still open but should be closed, may email: Officials have already received 200 complaints since Monday. Fire marshals will issue warnings, followed by fines of up to $5,000.

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