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“Femicides” and domestic violence reports increase as pandemic continues

Domestic Violence (1)

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KION) In the past eleven months, law enforcement in Santa Cruz County has reported five femicides related to domestic violence.

“One in four women in our country experienced domestic violence,” said Kalyne Foster Renda. “We also know it is extremely underreported.”

Monarch Services, Co-Executive Director, Kalyne Foster Rendam said it takes a long period of time for a person to recognize that they’re in a violent relationship because of the manipulation and abuse of a partner.

According to Monarch Services, Women experience domestic violence more than men. 

“It could be the first time that somebody is being abused by their partner, or it could be the last time,” said Foster Renda.

Their service numbers nearly doubled from 2019 to 2020. Since the start of the pandemic, Monarch Services has seen a 250% increase in the number of crisis line calls. According to Foster Renda, the need has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

In 2019, the Watsonville Police Department dealt with 175 domestic violence cases. That number slightly increased in 2020 to 194 and they've dealt with 121 cases this year so far. Sergeant Rudy Lopez said it's one of the most dangerous calls they respond to.

“We offer what is called an emergency protective order to the victim,” said Sergeant Lopez. “What that does is, we call a judge, and the judge will evaluate the situation."

According to Monarch Services, the most dangerous time is when a person leaves an abusive relationship and a restraining order is filed.

“It is so important to intervene in whatever way is appropriate,” said Foster Renda. “Either if it is not safe for you to physically intervene, to be able to call for reinforcements and resources to help that person.”

Monarch Services encourages people to reach out to their local law enforcement or call their 24-hour bilingual crisis line at 1-888-900-4232 if they need help.

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Jonathan Sarabia

Jonathan is a former multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.


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