Troubling Report Sheds Light on Danger Facing Domestic Violence Victims in Lockdown


Domestic violence homicides in Tarrant County, Texas, have doubled during the coronavirus pandemic, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Monday.

Since March, 17 people have died in domestic violence-related homicides in the county that includes Fort Worth, up 112 percent from 2019 when eight deaths were reported in relation to domestic violence, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

“[The pandemic] creates the perfect environment for abuse to thrive,” according to Kathryn Jacob, president and CEO of SafeHaven, an agency that provides services to victims of domestic violence.

“Abuse is already something that happens in the shadows, and now everything we do is in the shadows.”

A woman in Tarrant County was strangled with an electrical cord, wrapped in trash bags and left for two weeks in April before her husband confessed to the murder, the Star-Telegram reported.

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Susan Sudduth’s body was found after her husband, Joseph Sudduth, told his brother in Temple, Texas, about the murder and then attempted to commit suicide.

Her disappearance wasn’t noticed for weeks, likely because of the isolation caused by coronavirus lockdown measures.

“This woman wasn’t being seen,” Jacob said. “Because no one is being seen. That’s a really dangerous thing.” 

SafeHaven received reports of partners leaving weapons by the door as a threat against leaving the house, Jacob said.


“I feel really strongly that perhaps some of these homicides would happen regardless,” Jacob said. “But the pandemic provides such an opportunity for an offender to offend.”

A grocery store employee was reportedly forced to sleep outside because “they might bring COVID inside,” according to the Star-Telegram. One woman was forced to wash her hands until they bled.

“What a pandemic does is it isolates everybody,” Jacob said. “Domestic violence victims get double the negative effects of the isolation.”

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