Domestic abuse calls to Ottawa police down during pandemic, but experts urge vigilance

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Ottawa police are receiving fewer calls about domestic abuse during the coronavirus pandemic, but experts say that doesn’t mean the problems related to violence in the home have gone away.

Global News obtained data from the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) showing that calls requesting an officer’s intervention in domestic disputes with a partner or family member were down more than 23 per cent during the pandemic compared to the same period last year.

The data, which covers the period from March 16 to April 30, shows that total calls to Ottawa police are down 16.4 per cent year-over-year.

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3:35Surge in domestic violence during COVID-19 crisis

Surge in domestic violence during COVID-19 crisis

But while the coronavirus pandemic might see fewer reports of public disturbances such as suspicious persons or loitering as most residents abide by stay-home directives, the shutdown can foster a disturbing new reality for victims of domestic violence.

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The OPS declined to comment further on the statistics it provided to Global News for this story, but did release a statement in March indicating concern about incidents of domestic abuse going unreported amid the pandemic.

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