LOS ANGELES – Three of the California United States Attorneys today joined the District Attorneys for four California counties to launch an online outreach campaign to help victims of domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Domestic violence can be solved only by continuing to work effectively with our local partners,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna, who is a member of the Justice Department’s Domestic Violence Working Group. “We owe victims and their families our best efforts; we owe it to their children and to the broader community as well.”
The outreach campaign was announced this afternoon in a virtual press conference by U.S. Attorney Hanna, Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten, U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott in Sacramento, U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer in San Diego, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley. These law enforcement officials were joined by Daphne Young, the Chief Communications Officer for Childhelp, a national nonprofit organization aiding victims of child abuse.
The outreach campaign was created to combat an unintended consequence of COVID-19 public health measures – an alarming rise in domestic violence with victims trapped at home with their abusers under increasing stress. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has reported an increase in contacts to the hotline during COVID-19. Reports show that physicians are treating more domestic violence injuries and that these injuries are more severe. According to the CDC, roughly 1 in 6 homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner. Research further shows that abusers with a gun in the home are five times more likely to kill their partners than abusers who don’t have access to a firearm.
Under federal law, individuals with domestic violence misdemeanor and felony convictions, as well as individuals subject to domestic violence protective orders, are prohibited from possessing firearms. Earlier this month, the Department of Justice announced it has charged more than 500 domestic violence cases involving firearms during the 2020 Fiscal Year.
The campaign includes a video public service announcement and public awareness messages posted on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms with a new post made each day for one week. The posts provide information for victims with resources – such as 24-hour hotlines – vital to reporting abuse. The posts also provide tips for concerned friends, relatives and educators on how they can help victims of abuse.