Webinar presenter Andrew Campbell answered a number of your questions after his presentation, Unintended Consequences of the Coronavirus Response: Increasing Risk of Family Violence. Here are just a few of his responses.
Audience Question: So since more animal abuse reports are made by neighbors than child abuse cases, should law enforcement be following up on these animal abuse reports to kind of do some more investigation and see if any of them lead to discovering child abuse cases?
Andrew Campbell: So my short answer is absolutely. I think given the overlapping risk and often shared risk; we see you know of when animals are abused children are at high risk when children are abused animals are. We know that often agencies and entities have limited resources though going in and so sometimes it can be difficult, you know, even looking at domestic violence and knowing that children are at 60 times the risk. We still don’t necessarily see any situations or often see the situation where every domestic violence report is reported to child welfare. In fact in communities and counties where we do see that relationship, where they even do have an agreement where all DV cases involving children or were children the home will be reported between law enforcement and child welfare. That’s really the only 50% of the time it happened and that’s even when it’s required. So we know that there are definitely issues there and so I don’t want to, you know. I think what’s important is that you reach out to your own community. In my opinion, I think it’s warranted particularly, given now I guess what’s going on right now with we you know, essentially sixty to seventy percent of the report sources for most of our childhood welfare and child abuse reports are I won’t want to say out of the picture but they have a lot less access right now. So these animal reports are always important but they are supercritical now, so I would say definitely during this pandemic. It makes absolute sense that you’re you know, I, you know correlating that and that law enforcement is at the very least, you know, it will respond to animal abuse or animal welfare concerns that that individual is asking about humans in the home. You know if a neighbor calls and says, hey I’m concerned about my neighbor’s pet. You’ve got the neighbor on the phone; well do you have concerns about the children or adults in the home. Like it’s a fair question to get in that way. So again my short answer is absolutely. My long answer knowing that each community is different and they have their own restrictions in terms of workload, you know, I think it’s something to take it with your community, but at the very least educate animal control and welfare to make sure that when they do get that call, you know, you’re concerned about the animals. Do you have concerns about humans? I think you know they at the very least we should be doing that and then obviously involving agencies, you know, as soon as there’s any indication that there’s harm to humans and/or children in the home or adults and/or children at the home
Audience Question: You talked about Sunday’s being the heaviest days for domestic violence. Did your research separate out the time of year as well? So, for example, is football and drinking during the game being a measurable factor at Cetera. So did you get a sense of seasonality also in terms of the time of year not just the day of the week?
Andrew Campbell: Absolutely, and if you have an interest in that study or any of the studies I referenced, if you email me I’ll be glad to send those to you as well. But May through August was the highest incidence and police reports. So Sunday, Saturday, May through August, again times when children are more likely in the home. The correlation to sports and drinking I think is an interesting one because it’s one that I’ve looked at a little bit looking here in Indianapolis. I pursued that looking at again when we had sports. Indianapolis Colts games and even looking at game outcomes and things like that and didn’t necessarily observe a direct result of what appeared to be any kind of increase there. But I do think it’s an important thing to think about. We do often see alcohol consumed along with watching our viewing sports and we know that in the cases, you know, 50, 60 percent or more of the cases of domestic violence cases involved in this study that perpetrator was still under the influence of alcohol or substance when the officers arrived so we know it definitely is that they’re important things to think about and I think an interesting concept I know that there are maybe a couple of other studies that I pursue professional sports in the link there, but I haven’t necessarily found that I have found the tie with the alcohol and then the months of the year again being May and August were the highest, you know, number of reports occur again aligning when children are less likely to be in school and more likely to be in the home.
Audience Question: Sherry shared that her organization sees increases in the documentation on Sundays. They particularly see a spike around 10 p.m. of every day of the week. Have you drilled down in the terms of the time of calls?
Andrew Campbell: Very interesting thought and one that I’ll pursue. So if you want to email me anyone who asks a question or has an interest in that I can look further into that because I obviously I don’t want to say anything that I can’t completely back. Off the top of my head again. I know on Sunday it was more afternoon, early evening. I have looked at the time of day before but you know the 10 o’clock time frame doesn’t actually jump out. You know, it would be interesting to pursue that so I don’t want to avoid the question. I have an idea of what I wouldn’t want to say regarding that but I don’t want to say it. Again I take these all these opportunities very seriously and obviously don’t want to provide any information that I can’t support or that won’t be helpful. So, Sherry, if you wouldn’t mind emailing me, I’ll take a look at that and you know, we can discuss that further as long as anyone else who has an interest in that too
Audience Question: Barbara asked, have you seen and this may be too early to tell, Barbara asks, you see an increase or decrease with the addition of the stimulus drop? So I’m suspecting that the checks are only just now going out or I should say rather the electronic deposits. Is it too soon to tell whether you’ll see an increase or decrease of domestic violence with the added stimulus?
Andrew Campbell: From a research standpoint too soon because it’s I mean like in of just speaking directly from my own family, it’s nothing that we’ve received yet or anything like that. I know that I think they’re coming out in different ways and different speeds across the country. My concern just again, it’s just speaking from personal perception personal, you know, this is just my own thoughts nothing that I can support with research in terms of the data not being there would be, you know, my concern would be who’s going to get that check and most of these perpetrator controlled homes there, you know regardless of who it’s whose name it goes into or her, you know, here in these high violence high controlling homes perpetrators really have a strong grip on some of these individuals to the point where they restrict bank accounts and things like that. So my concern would be that that the money I’m again not trying to sound pessimistic but the victims may not receive benefits from that money in which is an unfortunate reality. So when I think about risk again just as off the top of my head. This is not supported by any data I have I would necessarily think that it alleviate risk, you know, if putting more money into the hands of perpetrators who are at high risk of purchasing guns and abusing alcohol, you know, if you took it that way you might be concerned that it could in some ways even increase risk, right if they’re using that money for those things. Again, that’s just me speaking off the top of my head. So no data there yet. I don’t necessarily hear that and think that it reduces risks though, particularly considering the amount of the stimulus and the nature that you know for many people are looking at being out of work for two to three months of folks.
Audience Question: Nancy asks and Andrew I think you addressed this. Nancy asked aren’t neighbors more likely to report animal abuse?
Andrew Campbell: Much more. Yeah, so when I talk about domestic violence police reports, I found that only 8% of the reports of domestic violence came from neighbors and my study of various Indiana communities and some others in other states as well find that about 80 to 90% of the animal abuse calls come from neighbors. So, you know, essentially 10 times as likely so much more likely to report harm to animals than humans.
Audience Question: The agencies that they are working for are reporting lower numbers of crisis calls and fewer are coming in for protective order support. What is your advice? Is there a way that we can make it safer for victims to reach out? What are you seeing other communities do to support these families who are experiencing domestic violence, but in these challenging times where it’s so difficult to reach them. Do you have any insights or advice on that?
Andrew Campbell: So I do see agencies kind of switching to more electronic means whether it’s providing counseling service through or you know again through it some sort of electronic whether it’s through a telephone or social media reaching out that way again. If we’re talking about, you know, some of these environments, you know victims may not have opportunity to engage those services. I think it’s still worthwhile to put them in place and again not speaking negatively of them. I think there are victims who are using them and are finding success there but for many of these highest-risk homes and my concern is that these victims again even before all this happened, we saw perpetrators essentially with a lock and type of scenario where the victim wasn’t allowed to leave the home. They may not have free access to their phone or their phone may only you know receive calls from the perpetrator. I mean, it sounds extreme but it’s the reality for many of these individuals the level of control that was already occurring likely even worse now and so, you know, that’s my fear and my concern is that these victims simply are unable to reach out right now. I think it just speaks to how important it is in involving your community agencies and in spreading the word, you know, if like I said, I tried to share this message on our local news and I recorded the whole segment and they cut most of the stuff out I wanted to say but like even if it’s just finding a way to get on local media and getting that message out there that we’re aware of this risk, we’re aware of this concern. There are resources in place. It may even at least put something the back of the mind of the perpetrator that people are watching that people are thinking because again perpetrators are often opportunists. They know that the current circumstances make it hard to detect this violence. So engaging your community partners engaging neighbors and really getting this message out there I think is critical for many of these homes where even when we adapt and do electronic service, they still may not be able to access. It truly is unprecedented extremely difficult times and you know that like the odds are always stacked against us in this field, but you know, I always go back to these victims and survivors often overcome far greater odds, and you know and we owe it to them to do what we can and whatever we can think of to try to find ways to reach them. I really think it’s getting that message out there now.