DA Reports Domestic Violence Results in Majority of Recent Arrests During COVID-19 Crisis

Modified: April 13, 2020 12:01pm

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Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn reports that of the 19 individuals booked over the weekend, 11 defendants were charged with crimes related to domestic violence. The alleged crimes occurred between the evening of Friday, April 10 and Sunday, April 12, 2020 in the City of Buffalo. While the charges vary from case to case, some included assault, criminal obstruction of breathing, menacing, and harassment. 

Since March 16, 2020, there have been a total of 76 domestic violence-related arrests throughout Erie County. Over the course of the past four weeks, there have been an average of 19 domestic violence arrests per week. In 2019, the Erie County District Attorney’s Office prosecuted a total of 916 domestic violence cases, which averages approximately 17 cases per week. 

“Unfortunately, as predicted, my office is seeing crime in general going down dramatically, except for domestic violence cases. While the data shows a slight increase in overall cases, I am concerned that these numbers may continue to rise as people remain home to stop the spread of COVID-19. Although, I am thankful that we can report that either the victim or someone else was able to call for help, which resulted in these arrests. I understand that this health crisis has presented stress and uncertainty, but domestic violence is a crime and abusers will be prosecuted. As the stay-at-home order remains in effect, I want to remind anyone at-risk of abuse that we have resources available to help you,” said Erie County DA John Flynn.   

The Erie County District Attorney’s Office continues to remind the public that if you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911. 

Counselors are available by phone to provide resources through the Erie County 24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline: 716-862-HELP

The BE-SAFE Victim Advocacy Program provides support, resources and safety planning for victims of domestic violence. While the program specializes in advocacy within the criminal courts, you do not need to have a pending criminal case to access services. 

BE-SAFE advocates and social workers are providing remote advocacy through phone outreach on any incoming case. While calls cannot be answered directly at this time, the office line is being monitored by BE-SAFE and linked to the local domestic violence hotline: 716-858-4630.

The Erie County DA’s Office has significantly reduced the number of employees reporting daily, but a few Assistant District Attorneys and essential staff are available for essential court procedures, which include temporary restraining orders. 

Signs of an abusive partner include:

  • Physical abuse (pushing, punching, slapping, choking, kicking, holding you against your will and/or using a weapon or threatening to use a weapon)
  • Verbal abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Displays jealous, controlling or possessive behavior
  • Blames others for his/her/their problems, does not take responsibility for their own actions, or minimizes his/her/their actions
  • Threatens self-harm, harm to children or pets
  • Destroys property
  • Stalking or violating orders of protection

Information on the BE-Safe Victim Advocacy Program and other local programs: www.erie.gov/besafe

More information on Staying Safe During COVID-19 from the National Domestic Violence Hotline: https://www.thehotline.org/2020/03/13/staying-safe-during-covid-19/

As are all persons accused of a crime, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.