Police agencies report increase in domestic disturbance calls during height of Canada's COVID-19 lockdown

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      Police agencies in Canada report an increase in calls for service regarding domestic disturbances.

      Requests for officers to attend home disputes rose during the first four months of COVID-19.

      The said time corresponded to pandemic lockdowns, with many people staying at home.

      From March to June 2020, calls for police regarding domestic quarrels went up 12 percent compared to the same period last year.

      “Calls to police classified as domestic disturbances or domestic disputes can involve anything from a verbal quarrel to reports of violence at a residence,” Statistics Canada stated in a data release Tuesday (September 1).

      The increase in police calls for domestic disputes form part of a broader report about police incidents from March to June 2020.

      The data came from 17 police agencies, including the Vancouver Police Department, Ontario Provincial Police, and RCMP.

      All in all, police reported a 16 percent decrease in selected criminal incidents, compared with the same period in 2019.

      This means that there were fewer assaults, sexual assaults, property crimes, and impaired driving.

      In contrast, the number of calls for service increased “particularly wellness checks by these police services and calls to attend domestic disturbances”, Statistics Canada noted.

      In addition to calls related to domestic disputes increasing at 12 percent, request for police to attend to general wellbeing or welfare checks also rose 12 percent.

      Meanwhile, calls related to mental health, like a person in an emotional crisis, grew 11 percent.

      “An increase in wellbeing checks and reports of domestic disturbances demonstrates the risks associated with social isolation and perhaps the concern of family, friends and neighbours,” Statistics Canada explained.

      The federal agency also noted that a rise in mental health related calls “may also be expected during a pandemic”.

      Details can be found here.