State officials expanding domestic violence and sexual assault services for people in quarantine

BOSTON — Lt. Gov. Karen Polito announced on Thursday that the state is expanding domestic violence and sexual assault services. Boston 25 News Reporter Malini Basu reached out several Police Chiefs across Massachusetts, where they are saying they have been seeing less domestic violence calls since the pandemic started, and that has some police chiefs worried.

“In Methuen, we are seeing less domestic violence, and sexual assault calls. But, I’m sure with the economy the way it is, we will be getting more calls," said Methuen Police Chief Joe Solomon.

“The big concern is what’s going to happen in the coming weeks, or months where people continue to be in isolation,” said Walpole Police Chief John Carmichael.

Chief Carmichael says, people’s jobs are being affected because of the pandemic, which causes for more stress.

All of that combined, can add to the burden of the household.

Lt. Gov. Karen Polito says especially now, more than ever domestic violence and sexual assault victims are at risk, and wants them to come forward.

“Being home isolating, or quarantine or working from home, living with an abuser, and the impact it has on your mental and physical abilities,” said Polito.

“People can still come to the police station,” said Carmichael.

Polito says, despite offices and resource centers being closed, there is help out there by calling 211, and the safe link toll free number 1-877-785-2020, and for those who are hearing impaired the safe link number is 1-877-521-2601.

“If you are at home with someone who has abused you, please call for help, when you can see the person, and are far enough that they can’t hear you” said Polito.

All police departments across the state are standing by and ready and willing to help any victims or domestic issues in general, said Carmichael.

Authorities want to make it clear, you’re not alone, and there is help out there.

State officials have set up helpful online tools victims of domestic violence can access to find help. You can find the website for SafeLink, Massachusetts’ statewide 24/7 toll-free domestic violence hotline and resource for victims here and a list of resources provided by the state here. Remember, you can always remain anonymous.