D.C. Battles New Pandemic of Domestic Violence-Related Homelessness

Amid the economic, health and educational uncertainties caused by the coronavirus, an equally virulent pandemic co-exists: the increased instances of intimate partner violence.

On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner or parent in the United States. In a single year, this equates to more than 10 million women, men, and children. Additionally, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, sexual violence, or intimate stalking.

And with schools, businesses, and many outreach services shuttered under COVID-19 mandates, the sudden spike in homelessness among survivors of domestic and intimate partner violence has pushed outreach agencies into new territory.

Organizations, including Network for Victim Recovery of D.C., Victim Legal Network of D.C., and The Safe Sisters Circle, have shifted most of in-person intake services to tele-counseling and intake models, but insists their ability to meet the needs of clients has not been compromised.

Koube Ngaaje, executive director of the District Alliance for Safe Housing, said the level of violence has almost become a second pandemic with the organization witnessing higher lethality and sexual assault cases since the pandemic began.

“How that pans out means that the survivors, and

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