Lethal incidents of domestic violence appear to be rising during the COVID-19 shutdowns, which are causing many people to remain confined in their homes.
A recent article in the Huffington Post reported that “there are some preliminary warning signs that lethal domestic abuse is already on the rise.”
The report revealed that about 11 murder-suicides occur in the United States each week, usually involving intimate partners or families.
But as most states — including Texas — called for the public to stay at home, there were at least 19 murder-suicides (including 4 attempted ones) between March 27 and April 2, according to the Huffington Post’s analysis.
That analysis relied on Google alerts and gun violence databases. The article indicated that “it is likely additional incidents exist.”
The report said nearly all of the incidents involved a man killing his wife or child before taking his own life.
Men can be victims of domestic violence, too
But men can also be victims of domestic violence. The Houston area had such a case a day before the one-week time period examined by the Huffington Post.
On March 26, a man in the Houston suburb of Channelview was fatally shot by his wife, according to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.
“This was a domestic violence type situation,” Gonzalez at a press conference covered by the Houston Chronicle.
If the investigator’s initial theory proves to be true, the killing apparently would be the first domestic violence-related death in Harris County since the COVID-19 stay-at-home order went into effect, the Chronicle reported.
Natural disasters and pandemics lead to rise in domestic violence
Natural disasters similarly have corresponded to increased rates of domestic violence. In fact, domestic violence reports spiked in Houston after Hurricane Harvey hit the city in 2017, leading to isolation in the homes of many people.
As for the coronavirus pandemic, other nations — including France, China, Greenland and Australia — have also noted higher rates of domestic violence since implementing policies for citizens to shelter in place, or to remain at home apart from essential outings.
Such forced confinement gives domestic violence victims fewer opportunities to escape their abuser. And perpetrators of domestic abuse not only have increased access to their families but may be able to get away with abuse more easily since fewer support services may be available to victims.
Even so, crimes or claims of domestic abuse, domestic violence and family violence are being reported in Houston and Harris County, Sugar Land and Fort Bend County and The Woodlands/Conroe and Montgomery County.
In fact, domestic violence calls to Houston Police spiked by 20 percent in March compared to the previous month.
When to consult a domestic violence defense lawyer
If you face such a charge or claim — which may or may not be true — keep in mind that you have legal rights, too. Notify an experienced domestic violence defense lawyer to handle your case and to protect your legal rights.
Contact the Neal Davis Law Firm for a free and confidential legal review of your domestic violence case.
The COVID-19 shutdowns have not closed the legal system. Criminal courts are still open in Houston and Southeast Texas — and you must face any such charge or claim immediately. Let’s get started on your defense today.