Combating Domestic Violence: Valley hospital explains drop in patients, rise in severe cases

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Ending domestic abuse is not an easy task, but one Valley hospital has taken significant steps to help victims. 

The Child Adult to Abuse Response Team (CAART) program at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen has existed to help victims of all ages combat abuse since 2006.

"We provide care for patients that have been violated," CAART Director Sonja Eddleman said. "Whether that is child abuse or domestic violence or sexual assault." 

Though officials say the number of domestic violence patients at Valley Baptist has decreased during the pandemic, it's causing more concern because of the severity of those hospitalized. 

"They have been injured more significantly," Eddleman said. "We've had more stabbings, more strangulations, especially in the adult population." 

Since many kids and adults were forced to learn and work from home, Eddleman says the violence against them stays within their living space.

"We've had several deaths this year in the pandemic from babies all the way to our elderly," Eddleman said, adding that some elderly patients have even been stripped of their income and held hostage. 

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. 


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