‘It knows no bounds’: Domestic violence increased globally during pandemic lockdowns, including in Colorado Springs

Deemed a “shadow pandemic,” domestic violence against women surged during the pandemic.
Domestic violence increased in COS during the pandemic lockdowns, as it did globally
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 8:04 AM MST|Updated: Mar. 16, 2023 at 7:33 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Labeled a “shadow pandemic” by a UN organization, domestic violence plagued the world during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Colorado Springs is and was no safe haven. In fact, 11 News previously reported that 2021 was the deadliest year in state record for domestic violence-related deaths.


According to TESSA, a local organization providing sexual and domestic violence aid, they saw over a 30% increase in clients. Before the pandemic, they served around 15,000-16,000 people. That number increased to around 23,000.

“We’re just really seeing it in every zip code in town,” said Anne Markley, CEO of TESSA. “Every demographic group, really, it knows no bounds... Certainly over the past year, even our number of men reaching out for support has increased.”

While they’re not sure if cases actually increased, or whether more people reported their domestic incidents, TESSA’s CEO tells 11 News they do know this period of isolation led to violence for many.

Markley also says there were more calls to their 24/7 Safe Line, especially for immediate safe housing needs.

“Lethality” in domestic violence cases also spiked, meaning cases of serious or potentially deadly situations went up.

“And so those situations just exacerbated very quickly. And that lethality factor definitely went up, so we have continued to see that in place, and that really hasn’t leveled out,” Markley explained.

What has gone down a bit since the lockdowns is the number of individuals seeking TESSA’s help -- it’s in the low 20,000s, now, though still higher than pre-pandemic levels.

She says TESSA is often the first resources victims call. The organization keeps everything confidential, unless you give them direct consent to share your story. They do, however, have to report any child abuse or neglect.

“We’re not going to report it to friends, family, police, unless they give us the written consent to do so,” Markley said. And so for many people making that first phone call and being able to talk to somebody who believes them, who can validate them, who can understand what they’re going through.”

If you ever need support, you can call the TESSA Safe Line at 719-633-3819. They’re open 24 hours, seven days a week.