Thousands attend Atlanta virtual domestic violence event

More than 2,000 people listened in on a virtual Zoom call addressing skyrocketing domestic violence calls in the city of Atlanta.

City leaders said they planned the event because the rate of domestic violence in the city of Atlanta is up 48% from 2019.

"It’s starting to involve weapons, knives guns, and alcohol," Atlanta Police Sgt. Janice Sturdivant said.

Atlanta leaders call the spike in domestic violence cases a "pandemic within a pandemic."

"It’s verbal, it’s emotional, sexual, digital. It’s very rare when violent that that’s the first instance," president and CEO of the Partnership Against Domestic Violence, Nancy Friauf said.

Advocates said the added stress of being home or financial restraints because of the coronavirus takes a toll on everyone-- even households that have never struggled with domestic violence before.

"There is no consistency in the type of victims or backgrounds and a lot of times it’s no history at all," Fulton County Deputy District Attorney Yolanda Mack said.

Atlanta City Council member Michael Julian Bond facilitated a virtual event Thursday, outlining resources available for those in need of help.

Atlanta police officers often work with liaisons while tending to domestic violence calls.

The Partnership Against Domestic Violence is the largest domestic violence provider in state of Georgia. It offers a listening ear 24/7.

"You don’t have to know what you want to do; you don't have to come to shelter, just talk," Friauf said.

The Fulton County court system said it’s aware it can take the average person suffering from domestic violence seven times to seek help.

They said even amid the pandemic, they're open and able to help.

"It’s a skeleton crew in a pandemic there for victims and citizens of Fulton County," Mack said.

She said representatives are available via Zoom.

The nearly 2-hour long call included personal accounts of domestic violence from Georgia Representative Stacey Evans and encouraged victims to leave as soon as possible, especially if children are involved.

"For younger children, it will delay their development," Friauf said.

If you or someone you love needs help, you can call 404-588-4740 for Atlanta victim assistance.

WATCH: FOX 5 Atlanta live news coverage


Sign up for FOX 5 email alerts

Download the FOX 5 Atlanta app for breaking news and weather alerts.