Domestic abuse worsens during pandemic

An advocate against domestic violence talks about the spike in incidents since the pandemic.


State News

October 25, 2021 - 9:43 AM

Kathleen Marker, CEO of YWCA Northeast Kansas, third from the left, holds a sign calling for an end to preventable domestic violence. She was joined Friday in Topeka by about 75 other community members, advocates and lawmakers. Photo by (Noah Taborda/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — A leading advocate against domestic violence says instances of abuse continue to grow in frequency as COVID-19 isolates victims and limits resources.

Kathleen Marker, CEO of YWCA Northeast Kansas, said in the past three years, 14 of 55 homicides recorded by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation were the outcome of domestic violence. In addition, she said the suicide rate in Topeka was also concerningly high, increasing by as much as 140% in January.

Since the early months of the pandemic, domestic violence has spiked sharply in Kansas and across the country. In 2020, there were 281 cases of domestic violence in Shawnee County, more than double the number of cases reported in 2016.

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