Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



Rape and Abuse Crisis Center sees disturbing amount of domestic violence calls during pandemic

The Rape and Abuse Crisis Center, 317 8th St. N in Fargo, has seen a slow uptick in calls in recent months. Tanner Robinson / WDAY

FARGO — In the past few months, it's been a roller coaster for Chris Johnson, the chief executive officer for the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center.

He said the center saw about 20 percent of the call traffic than usual during the first part of the pandemic from mid-March to May, which he believes stems from most resources for help being closed.

"When we ask society to lock down and don't go anywhere and try to limit the amount of human contact, that puts every domestic violence victim trapped with their abuser," Johnson said.

According to the North Dakota Department of Human Services, since most resources across the state were closed, they had to turn to making temporary shelters for victims of domestic abuse and people who need to quarantine.

Some of those shelters are in hotels, and victims can only be in those shelters if they're referred by a doctor, homeless shelter or domestic violence shelter.


Johnson said the limited availability of the temporary shelters is part of the reason why the center is getting more calls and seeing more lethal situations now compared to mid-March.

"The type of violence that we're seeing seems to be a little more malicious," he said. "(It) looks a little bit more like torture."

Johnson said the violence usually comes from someone having control in the relationship, which he believes is easier to get if you're stuck at home.

Since most businesses and resources for help have opened back up, he said it's gotten easier to fill the need for help.

"Entities are reopening and we're starting to see a little bit more normalcy," Johnson said. "That's when you're going to see victims say, 'Okay, now here's my opportunity. It looks like things are kinda moving again.'"

But since the path of the virus is still uncertain, Johnson said the center is prepared in case the state goes into lockdown again.

"We don't know what we're dealing with in terms of a pandemic, and we're all trying to navigate that as best we can," he said.

In addition to the RACC seeing more calls, the Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo police departments have responded to over 500 domestic calls combined since mid-March.

Tanner Robinson is a producer for First News on WDAY-TV.
What To Read Next
Get Local