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Tri-County Council continues to see low call rates // WJFW Newswatch 12

Photo by WJFW Newswatch 12

Story By Georgina Fernandez

Local News Published 07/26/2021 5:09PM, Last Updated 07/26/2021 5:55PM

Rhinelander – Tri-County Council On Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in Rhinelander says it has seen a lower number of calls since the start of the pandemic.

“It was like our phone was silent,” said Angie F, a legal advocate for the Tri-County Council.

At the start of the stay-at-home order, the Tri-County Council predicted its call numbers would increase as individuals hunkered down at home.

“People would be put into frustration and isolation together and we would get the calls,” Angie said.

Instead, the order brought the opposite.

“We did realize that people didn’t really have that opportunity to really make the phone calls to our agency, law enforcement or even concerned family members,” Angie said.

From April to June 2019 the shelter received a total of 115 calls. That number dropped to 66 during the 2020 April to June quarter.

“There really wasn’t any time period where any partner could leave for work, and so it made it really difficult for that partner to make a call for help,” Angie said.

The organization then predicted those call numbers to rise again once the order was lifted.

“‘Cause there was a better opportunity for victims to make that escape that they needed,” Angie said.

Now, almost a year after the stay-at-home order was lifted, the Tri-County Council says its call numbers have remained low compared to pre-COVID times, rising only 25 percent over June 2020. But it still isn’t clear why the numbers have stayed so low.

“Probably a few more quarters to see if we trend upwards,” Angie said. “We really aren’t sure why they are lower or maybe why 2019 was higher. We don’t know.”

Those looking for support can call the Tri-County Council at 715-362-6841.