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Crisis Center Calls Nearly Tripled During Pandemic



The Covid-19 pandemic has made domestic violence more common – and in some cases – more severe. Therefore, it’s not surprising that calls to The Bahamas Crisis Center’s 24-hour hotline nearly tripled during this period. But, what options are available to victims seeking to flee abusive relationships? Vaughnique Toote takes a look in this edition of “When Love Hurts”.

Cleopatra Christie knows all too well the scary scenes that play out behind closed doors.

As lockdowns and curfews were enforced for many months at the onset of the pandemic, tensions boiled over. Christie says about the affect of the pandemic,”People are indoors more. People are not moving about. They are not working. They’re working from home.”

In 2020, 1,885 domestic violence incidents were reported to police. By October 2021, police saw a 35% increase, with 2,562 incidents reported.

During her 11 years of practice, family lawyer Eugenia Butler has also seen what happens when some relationships turn sour. She recounts an unfortunate story of one client who suffered domestic abuse from her husband even in the presence of their children.

A common question is why not leave but this abuse survivor knows it’s not that simple. To make matters worse, Butler says many women are isolated from loved ones and don’t know their rights.

But what do you do when you find yourself in an abusive relationship? Butler says for starters make an application before the Magistrates court. Christie says although there are a handful of safe houses, women still need more options.

Christie says counselors at the crisis center work with survivors to overcome the trauma associated with abuse and manage lingering feelings for their perpetrator. But the most important step is acknowledging you’re in a toxic situation and realizing you can leave.