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Domestic violence shelter sees "scary low" number of calls due to the coronavirus

The executive director of Safe Space, an East Tennessee domestic violence shelter, said around 5 of its 26 beds are in use.

A domestic violence shelter in East Tennessee said that the number of calls from people seeking help has dropped to "scary low" numbers due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Van Wolfe, the executive director of Safe Space, said its Newport domestic violence shelter only has between 3 - 5 beds in use. The shelter has 26 beds available for victims, in total.

Officials said the drop in the number of calls can be due to domestic violence victims staying stuck at home with abusers. They may not be able to call for help as abusers take control over who they can talk to, or monitor their conversations.

Anyone who needs help or wants advice on how to help another person is encouraged to call one of Safe Space's offices or use the resources on their website. They also have a 24-hour crisis hotline available at 1-800-244-5968. 

The shelter is taking people's temperatures and is offering masks to anyone who would like one, as precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. They received an emergency grant in early May to help them stay open and continue helping victims.

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