NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Advocates estimate that there have been at least eight deaths in eight weeks tied to domestic violence.
On Wednesday, 27-year-old Christian Morales was arrested after allegedly killing his ex-girlfriend.
Just two days prior, a 9-year-old girl and her mother were killed in an apparent murder-suicide.
And last month, police say a 62-year-old Arlington man Joseph Suddeth killed his wife and fled to Temple, Texas.
Advocates like Kathryn Jacob, who is the president and CEO of SafeHaven of Tarrant County, said the numbers are “very high.”
“We have already surpassed our number from 2019,” she said.
In the last week, SafeHaven has seen a 33% increase in the calls to their hotline.
In Dallas, DPD responded to about 918 domestic violence calls in February — more than 1,169 in March and more than 1,200 in April.
Dallas Police Department Lieutenant Pollyanna Ashford said the triggers are plenty.
“One of the other got the phone and saw evidence of infidelity. We’re seeing a lot of that. There may be some child custody issues or underlying reasons,” she said.
Arlington police have seen a similar trend with a 15% increase in the domestic violence calls.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline found 10% of callers specifically mentioned the pandemic as a reason for their situation.
And Jacob says there’s going to be even more.
“As we move on and stressors become more prevalent; substance abuse, pregnancy… we’ll see a rise in the domestic violence in our communities,” she said.
So, Jacob said it is important to check on family and friends — especially now.
“One of the things that PD is telling us is that abuser are using that as an excuse,” said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. “Telling their victims ‘you can’t get help during the virus, you’re just stuck at home,’ and that’s not true.”
Mayor Price told CBS 11 News that officers are being proactive. They’re looking for changes in patterns and anything suspicious.
Anyone facing domestic violence can call SafeHaven at 1-877-701-7233 or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.