SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — It's a frightening reality of everyone sheltering in place because of COVID-19, victims are now forced to stay inside with their abusers.
That's why Donna Brown is still going to work. It's been clear by the ringing phones, that some need her now more than ever.
"Right now as we speak, one in five women are being assaulted, right here in Sacramento County," said Brown. "It puts most of the abusers in the home with the family more frequently than usual."
After enduring an abusive environment for 11 years, Brown is a survivor-turned-saver working at A Community For Peace to help other victims break the cycle. In the last couple of weeks, she's answered an overwhelming number of domestic violence calls.
"Abusers that are maybe not going to work or the victims aren't going to work and the children are home, or there's a loss of income so it's just a pressure cooking the environment that they're in," said Incoming Executive Director Laura Clegg.
Adding to the pressure, CBS13 called several resources victims depend on and some are stretched thin with workers answering calls from home while others are not open at all. The Victims of Crime Resource Center in Sacramento has seen a 40% increase in domestic violence calls sine the stay at home order began.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline posted unbelievable scare tactics abusers are using. Some may withhold hand sanitizer or even threaten to cancel the insurance to control their victims. One caller said they were being physically abused, accused of trying to infect their abuser with COVID-19.
"Imagine being on the front line with nowhere to go, no one to turn to, but you have to stay right there, knowing that you're going to be attacked at any moment," said Brown.
Brown comes into work every day because it isn't just a job, she knows firsthand, it's a lifeline.
Victim advocates say now is the time for neighbors to step up and look for any signs of stress or abuse next door.
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