How the COVID-19 pandemic is increasing domestic violence incidents

One of the hidden dangers during the COVID-19 pandemic is the rising number of domestic violence cases, according to law enforcement agencies.

It's happening around the world and in Arizona.

Due to the financial impact of the pandemic, many women are unable to leave the situation when the family may be struggling financially.

Domestic violence-related calls in Phoenix have shot up, doubling since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Phoenix Police Department.

RELATED: Report: Phoenix saw 'dramatic' rise in violent crime in 2020

A music therapist says women's shelters are overwhelmed and the public needs to help. 

"It’s just becoming more evident in the news also because women are trapped in their houses and can’t get out safely until the last minute," said therapist Sandi Curtis, adding, "They’re told to be isolated at home and it’s assumed that people are safe at home but of course, people aren’t safe."

Curtis has been a music therapist for more than twenty years and is based in Canada. She works with women still in the situation and women who've escaped.

Her website says music therapy takes "advantage of the incredible powers of music to heal and facilitate change."

She says with the pandemic, there is more stress on the abuser.

"It’s a long-standing problem. There’s more stress on the abuser and it might not cause violence, but it can certainly escalate it and women being trapped and unable to leave until the very last minute is the other issue," she explained.

When women finally do leave, she says there's a higher risk of a bad ending. 

In Arizona, Phoenix Police released numbers, indicating were 10 homicide cases linked to domestic violence in the first half of 2019, while 24 cases have been reported this year - a 140% increase.

"When looking at the numbers year-to-date, through August 3, the situation becomes even more concerning," Phoenix authorities wrote in the report. "During that time, domestic violence-related deaths jumped 180 percent over the same time period in 2019."

Shelters are overwhelmed with families seeking help, Curtis says.

"Although there are shelters out there, there are less than what are needed by far. What we need is to fund them so we can have more and have more services," she said.

Hoping that there's a silver lining in the midst of the pandemic, she says, "I hope that we won’t forget about the existence of domestic violence once this has passed."

For domestic violence resources, visit the below links: