Marjaree Mason Center expects domestic violence cases to rise as people stay home

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For the Marjaree Mason Center, staying open could be life-saving for many local domestic violence victims.

Leaders with the organization now worry that domestic violence cases will rise as more people are asked to stay home.

"I think based on other countries that have seen high domestic violence, it's a high possibility for our area," said Nicole Linder, executive director of the Marjaree Mason Center.

Linder says last year, they served over 7,000 adults and kids. She says tensions rise as kids are home and businesses are forced to cut employees or close due to COVID-19 concerns.

"We have stressors that push that. Overall unemployment, anxiety, substance use. Often we see increases when kids are home, and what's happening now, schools are shut down," she said.

Linder says while they're not closed, they are being forced to suspend in-person group meetings, and utilize one-on-one phone counseling.

"We do commit to operating a 24-hour hotline... we can do that remotely. We can make sure we have enough people on standby to answer calls."

They have a team creating packets for kids to use at home while out of schools. Linder and county officials are also working on making sure they have more beds to accommodate the homeless as well as victims.

"As of this afternoon and tomorrow morning, there will be an additional 300 beds online that we could place people into," said Sonia De La Rosa, a principal analyst with the county.

Linder says while they want people to be safe, she says victims need to get themselves out of a dangerous situation.

They're asked to call the Marjaree Mason Center at 559-233-4357 or their local law enforcement agency. They can also message the center on their social media.
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