Officials say COVID-19 may be impacting the number of domestic violence deaths and calls that are pouring in

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The number of domestic violence related deaths are nearing Utah’s year-end death count from 2019, and the number of calls are pouring in.

A murder-suicide in Cache Valley Friday brings Utah’s domestic violence related deaths to 26 this year, according to the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition.

In 2019, officials reported 32 Utahn’s lost their life.

“That is definitely a concern if the pattern maintains throughout the rest of the year, that’s horrific,” said Liz Sollis, a communications consultant with the coalition.

Sollis said the COVID-19 pandemic may be impacting the rise in calls at the coalition due to isolation, financial stress, and court processes taking longer than normal.

“In many cases, if there was say, an arrest or an incident, they would normally be seen in the courts within a couple of weeks,” Sollis said. “That now is being sometimes months out due to the shifts the courts had to make.”

Sollis told ABC4 News that she spoke to a LINKLine coordinator, who noted a major concern shared by victims during the pandemic, is that their case will be delayed, and abusers will not be arrested or incarcerated.

But in the Utah State Courts, Geoff Fattah said since the beginning of the pandemic, “Domestic violence cases, including petitions for protective orders, have been prioritized…by the Utah Supreme Court”.

“Life is not easy on a good day, and so when you have a pandemic, it can increase stress on anybody in the home,” Sollis said. “And our LINKLine is available to anyone and everyone.”

Have questions about coronavirus?

 If you or someone you know are in need of help, contact the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition’s 24/7 LINKLine at 1-800-897-LINK (5465).

The Utah State Courts are accepting petitions for protective and restraining orders by email.

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Hailey Hendricks
Hailey graduated from Utah State University in broadcast journalism. She was nominated for a student Emmy and also won a Society of Professional Journalist (SPJ) award for her work on the show ‘Cache Rendezvous.’ She was also nominated for an SPJ on suicide prevention.

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