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Columbus Attorney Raises Concern About Spike In Domestic Violence Homicides

City Atty. Zach Klein and Columbus Councilmember Shayla Favor.
Nick Evans

Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein is expressing alarm after Columbus saw three domestic violence homicides in three weeks. 

Klein says the 60 domestic violence arrests last week is about average for the city, but three homicides in the past three weeks is not. In comparison, there were only seven in all of 2019.

Klein admits he cannot make a direct link between those deaths and the coronavirus outbreak.

“But what I do want to say is that it is a cause for concern for me,” Klein says. “People are holed up in their houses because we’re all doing our part to self-isolate. Then you throw on economic anxiety, fear of getting the coronavirus, and that causes an already unstable situation to potentially become dangerous or, God forbid, deadly.”

Ohio's stay at home order went into effect last Tuesday, March 24, closing all non-essential businesses and directing residents to stay at their places of residence.

Klein insists that local police, the courts and his office are all ready to actively pursue domestic violence cases.

“The work that we’ve done in this community to make sure the right people are in jail include domestic abusers,” Klein says.

Local sheltersare also open and ready to provide a safe space for people fleeing abuse.

“It’s a scary difficult time and women and families are already hesitant potentially to leave their abusive situation, and then you layer on the coronavirus, they may not think that resources are currently available to them,” Klein says. “I want to hammer home that they are available.”

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, call 614-224-4663.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.