January 5, 2022

State’s Attorney Warns That Increase in COVID-19 Could Lead to Increase in Domestic Violence, Child Abuse and Elder Abuse Cases

The State’s Attorney Office is offering warnings that the increase in COVID-19 cases brought on by the Omicron variant could lead to an increase in domestic violence, child abuse and elder abuse incidents, with victims often suffering in silence.

The State’s Attorney’s office urges victims or concerned family members or friends to call 911 if someone is in immediate, life-threatening danger.

For information on potential indicators of these situations, click here. Free services remain open and available.

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Information on the types of abuse where victims may need help include:

Child Abuse

Children of all ages, races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds are at risk for physical abuse. Physical abuse affects boys and girls across neighborhoods, communities and countries around the world. Children ages 4–7 and 12–15 are at the greatest risk of being physically abused.

During virtual learning, reports of child abuse dropped drastically in Montgomery County because many victims were isolated at home with their abuser. Following the return to the classroom, the State’s Attorney’s Office saw a spike in reports. However, Omicron has now forced some schools to return to distance learning, once again leaving children who may be in need of help without a safe place to report.

Services available include:
Intimate Partner Violence

The severity of domestic violence attacks has increased during the COVID-19 health crisis, including strangulation. Surviving victims of strangulation are 750 percent more likely to be killed by their intimate partner.

"I think the bottom-line message particularly when it comes to those in the community that may have suffered or been the victims of strangulation, you’re at risk,” said State’s Attorney John McCarthy. “You could die. Please get out, seek help, come to us, and there are a number of public and private agencies there to help you."

A webinar on domestic violence and strangulation can be viewed at Webinar: Domestic Violence Red Flags- Strangulation and Other Dangerous Behavior - YouTube

Services available to help victims of domestic include:
  • The Montgomery County Family Justice Center. Monday-Friday, 8;30 a.m.-5 p.m. Located at 600 Jefferson Plaza, Suite 500, in Rockville. Victims can walk in for services.
    • Provides assistance with safety planning, protective orders, legal assistance and counseling.
    • Can be reached by phone at 240-773-0444 or by email at safe@montgomerycountymd.gov (checked during business hours).
  • The Montgomery County Crisis Center (24 hours)
    • Provides help with crisis situations and coordinates shelter placement.
    • Call 240-777-4000.
  • District Court Commissioner’s Office (24 hours)
    • Located at 191 East Jefferson St. in Rockville.
    • Provides means to file for protective orders.
  • The Victim Assistance and Sexual Assault Program (VASAP)
  • Adventist Healthcare Shady Grove Medical Center has specialized medical care and forensic services
    • Located at 9901 Medical Center Dr, in Rockville.
    • Call 240-826-6225.
Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is the mistreatment or harming of an older person. It can include physical, emotional and sexual abuse, as well as neglect and financial exploitation.

The State’s Attorney’s Office CASVA Unit (Crimes Against Seniors and Vulnerable Adults Unit) is designed to focus on the protection of seniors from physical and financial crimes. Staying connected, phoning older adults, checking on an older neighbor or writing a card or letter can be positive steps to ensure public safety and social justice.

Services available include:
  • Montgomery County Adult Protective Services
    • Call 240-777-3000 (24 hours).
  • The Victim Assistance and Sexual Assault Program (VASAP)
  • Adventist Healthcare Shady Grove Medical Center has specialized medical care and forensic services:
    • Located at 9901 Medical Center Dr. in Rockville
    • Call 240-826-6225.