A Short-Term Analysis of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Victim Services Following the Illinois COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Order

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Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority
With the implementation of stay-at-home orders to slow COVID-19 transmission, researchers and victim service providers raised concerns about an increase in the amount and severity of domestic violence (DV) incidents. Using InfoNet - an online database used by Illinois domestic violence (DV) and sexual assault (SA) service provider - researchers explored data collected on victim services client volume, service needs, and offense characteristics over the first three months of the pandemic in 2020 compared to data collected during the same periods in 2018 and 2019. Findings revealed large increases in telephone counseling, a precipitous drop in in-person counseling, and a change from on-site to off-site DV victim shelter use. This report also highlights several notable changes in offense characteristics, referral sources, and service provision and concludes with future research directions.