OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – At the height of the pandemic, domestic violence calls rose 20%.
Experts said it was a combination of being stuck at home and the economic pressures that often come with job losses and the insecurity of COVID-19.
Support systems have also been interrupted. Local experts say these numbers leveled off in 2021 but are still keeping a close eye on certain dates.
Not all states treat strangulation as a crime, but Nebraska and Iowa do. It’s also one where the symptoms of suffocation aren’t always visible, and that can complicate things.
“In general, with the pandemic, we’ve seen increasingly severe types of domestic violence cases,” said Christon MacTaggart of the Women’s Fund of Omaha.
Christon MacTaggart is the head of the Freedom from Violence project at the Women’s Fund of Omaha.
“Strangulation is incredibly serious. If a person’s airflow or blood supply is cut off, it can cause damage immediately or days or weeks later, ”MacTaggart said.
Last week, 6 News counted 13 people arrested in Omaha for strangulation.
It tells experts two things: First, victims are comfortable enough to come forward and believe that law enforcement can protect them. Second, strangulation reports are an important statistic to track because they can prevent what can happen next.
“The risk of death in this situation is ten times higher if someone has strangled her or tried to strangle her,” said MacTaggart.
Finally, national data show that only 50% of victims of domestic violence use the criminal justice system.
The Omaha metro has two 24-hour emergency numbers that anyone who has suffered harm from their partner can call for free.
One is the Heartland Family Service Domestic / Sexual Violence Program at 1-800-523-3666 and the other is the Women’s Center for Advancement at 402-345-7273.
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