How Harbor House is working to end domestic abuse during the pandemic

One in four women and one in 10 men in the United States live through intimate partner violence, whether physical or emotional. And while it could be predicted that those numbers would rise during shelter-in-place measures in the midst of a pandemic, many domestic-violence organizations saw their number of hotline calls fall by more than 50 percent.

“Here in Central Florida, we’re seeing the same number of cases as we saw before,” said Michelle Sperzel, CEO of Harbor House of Central Florida. “That in itself is scary because we know that domestic violence is increasing because of isolation. The reason we’re not hearing from people, we believe, and we’ve been told by survivors who’ve been coming in, is it’s been very difficult to physically get away. Or their abuser is home all the time, so their ability to reach out and call has been difficult.”