Mental Health Challenges Lead to More Domestic Violence Calls in Illinois

A young Illinois couple has been together for two years. They share one child together and have one on the way. Their relationship has seen some ups and downs. The husband served time for a drug charge, a mistake he made two years ago. Since then, he has cleaned up his act and found gainful employment. The couple was in a good place in March before the coronavirus pandemic happened.

Last week, the husband lost his job at a meatpacking plant along with the family’s health insurance. With the upcoming birth of their second child, the couple is experiencing extreme emotional stress. One night, he decided to turn to drugs again and got into a heated argument with his wife. In a fit of passion, he slapped her on the face, leaving a small bruise. She called law enforcement, who arrested the man for drug charges and domestic battery.

Domestic Violence Calls are on the Rise

When the pandemic began, the virus itself was the biggest threat. As shutdown orders continue, other threats have become prominent. Our economy has declined. Additionally, people’s mental health has also declined. Many affected by mental illness had developed coping skills for anger issues and interpersonal issues. When those coping skills are not available due to shutdown orders, or when financial and other pressures pile on a person, they are more likely to snap in the heat of the moment.

In one Illinois Police Department, Chief Deputy Shannon Pilkington has stated that his department has seen a marked increase in domestic violence calls. His volume of calls has increased so much that the department is having difficulty responding to all types of calls. They have seen domestic violence calls increase, calls related to suicide attempts, as well as an increase in burglaries.

More specifically, they have seen an increase in domestic disturbance calls related to battery. Law enforcement has been required to remove suspects from the scene of domestic disturbances. The office had 398 calls during the same two-month period last year. Violations of orders or protection have nearly doubled for March and April compared to the same period last year. Weapons offenses have tripled in his area and calls regarding suspects with a gun have doubled.

The Courts are Still Open for Orders of Protection

Illinois courts are hearing petitions for emergency orders of protection. As families remain stuck inside their homes with each other, tensions continue to increase. Parents are struggling to work while supervising their children’s online classes. Unemployment and loss of income have also put pressure on already strained relationships. The courts have been closed except for emergency legal matters. It is important to note that Orders of Protection ARE emergencies.

Contact Our Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you need to file a petition for an order of protection, or if you need to defend against an order of protection, our law firm can help. At Glasgow & Olsson, we are offering virtual consultations as well as telephone consultations. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.

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