It’s no secret that 2020’s COVID-19 has challenged “the way life should be” here in Maine. Reports of domestic violence have grown significantly during the pandemic, as evidenced by the number of helpline calls, emails, text messages and even videoconference contacts received by domestic violence support agencies.

Calls for help rose 49% from April, compared to the same period in 2020. Coronavirus only heightens the compelling need to stop offenders in their tracks and to advocate for victims of all ages.

As a survivor myself, I know domestic violence reaches beyond the media headlines and coverage of current events. Statistics cannot accurately portray the size and scope of the problem. However, we do know that a domestic violence assault is reported to Maine law enforcement every 2 hours and 22 minutes.

I don’t see domestic violence as a partisan issue, but rather an issue requiring the Legislature to build on several recent successes. I am encouraged by recent legislation that was signed by governors Paul LePage and Janet Mills. Luckily, the issue hasn’t faced partisan roadblocks common in politics today.

The virus has made ending domestic violence more difficult, but I encourage people to support those asking for help, especially those who don’t know whether or not to make the call in the first place. If you or someone you know is being controlled or hurt by a partner, call the statewide domestic violence helpline: 1-866-834-HELP.

Rep. Fran Head, Bethel

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