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Covering Coronavirus: The Domestic Abuse Crisis

While stay-at-home orders have helped flatten the COVID-19 curve, they present grave new dangers for victims of domestic violence who suddenly find themselves locked down with their abusers. Cities across the country have reported an uptick in domestic violence calls, and some providers report seeing more violent incidents. The pandemic has made it harder than ever for domestic violence organizations to help victims, a challenge compounded by losses in funding and reduced shelter capacity. In response, some organizations and providers are experimenting with new ways of supporting victims, including text-message helplines, prepaid cell phones, paid apartments, protection orders filed online, virtual support groups, and video conferences to support assault victims after an attack. In this webinar, we'll look at how the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a terrifying new reality for domestic violence victims, how organizations and authorities are trying to innovate in response, and how reporters can cover the story in their community.

WHEN: May 27, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. PT / 1-2 p.m. ET

REGISTER: [Click here]


Deanna Paul is a staff writer at The Wall Street Journal. She previously wrote for The Washington Post and was part of the newspaper’s team that was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting, revealing the vast number of unsolved homicides in America’s major cities. Before her journalism career, Deanna spent six years as a New York City prosecutor, specializing in child homicides, crimes of domestic violence and felony sex crimes, and as an adjunct professor of trial advocacy at Fordham University’s School of Law. Her work has also appeared in WIRED, Rolling Stone and the Guardian. 

Adiel Kaplan is an investigative reporter with NBC National News, previously with InvestigateWest and the Miami Herald. She was part of the Miami Herald team that exposed millions of dollars of excessive compensation at Florida’s largest domestic violence nonprofit and worked on the award-winning ICIJ “Implant Files” series, an international collaborative investigation into medical device manufacturing and regulation, for NBC News. 

Allenna Bangs is the assistant criminal district attorney and the chief of the Intimate Partner Violence Unit in Tarrant County, Texas. She has been with the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office since 2008. She has prosecuted cases from misdemeanors to aggravated sexual assaults and capital murders. Bangs was formerly a member of the gang unit and prosecuted multiple members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas and the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang. Since 2016, she has focused on prosecuting crimes against women. She is past recipient of the Safehaven Women of Legacy Award and the International Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Investigators Prosecution Team of the Year Award. She is the facilitator of the Tarrant County Adult Fatality Review and a frequent speaker on behalf of the DA’s office and the Texas District and County Attorney’s Association. She received her bachelor’s degree from Southern Methodist University and her law degree from Texas Wesleyan School of Law (now Texas A&M School of Law).


Webinars are free and made possible by The Commonwealth Fund and the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation. 

Suggested reading  

‘There’s No Escape’: Finding New Ways to Help Domestic-Violence Victims Trapped in Lockdown,” by Deanna Paul, The Wall Street Journal

It’s hard to flee from your domestic abuser during a coronavirus lockdown,” by Adiel Kaplan and Wilson Wong, NBC News

Domestic Violence Calls Mount as Restrictions Linger: ‘No One Can Leave’,” by Julie Bosman, The New York Times

Domestic slayings: Brutal and foreseeable,” by Katie Zezima, Deanna Paul, Steven Rich, Julie Tate and Jennifer Jenkins, The Washington Post

Domestic Violence Intervention Programs: Home of the Duluth Model

Coordinating Community Models to Domestic Violence: Lessons from Duluth and Beyond, Melanie F. Shephard and Ellen L. Pierce, Editors

Futures Without Violence: Danger Assessment Tool



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