When Staying Home Isn’t Safe: Domestic Violence in King County During a Pandemic

The Governor’s Stay Home Order, business closures and other strategies helped slow the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, the social isolation and stress resulting from these efforts, combined with less access to external supports, may be increasing the occurrence of family violence.

Using data from emergency department visits, the legal system and the National Domestic Violence Hotline, Public Health – Seattle & King County released a new report comparing 2020 domestic violence patterns to the prior year. Within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, people continue to seek out domestic violence services.

Domestic violence patterns during the pandemic suggest concern may be warranted

Scroll through the data below to see highlights from the new report.

The data in the report do not represent the full picture of domestic violence in King County. For example, Public Health was able to analyze some data from the court system, but not all. Additionally, the data does not account for people who may experience domestic violence but face obstacles seeking services. This limits our ability to draw meaningful conclusions about the frequency of domestic violence. Some data, however, justify concerns about the number of domestic violence incidents in 2020 to date and looking forward.

Despite the pandemic, services and supports are available

Domestic violence support services have had to adjust during the pandemic, but they are available in a modified format. Courts, for example, modified their processes so that many protection order requests can be submitted online and in person. It is important to check your local court website to better understand the services they currently offer. See the following for information and resources.

If you need help with a Domestic Violence Protection Order, please call the Protection Order Advocacy Program:

  • Seattle:  206-477-1103
  • Kent: 206-477-3758
  • Or see http://www.protectionorder.org for more information about all of the different types of court orders available.

For immediate support and safety planning for DV survivors, please call: 

  • New Beginnings:  206-522-9472 (24 hour helpline) or
  • LifeWire:  800-827-8847 or 425-746-1940 (24 hour helpline)
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
  • National Deaf Domestic Violence Hotline: nationaldeafhotline@adwas.org, get help 24/7 by calling 855-812-1001 (video phone)
  • Or visit the website for the Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence www.endGV.org which will link you to agencies in your area.

Additional resources: