By Julie Watts

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A deadly shooting in Sacramento County may be another sign of an increase in domestic violence as we come out of the pandemic.

A woman was shot and killed inside an apartment in the Arden area Tuesday Morning. Neighbors say she was the victim of domestic violence.

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It’s believed to be the second deadly domestic violence case in Sacramento County in as many weeks—an apparent trend we’ve been seeing for months.

Last week, a 19-year-old was found dead inside an apartment near Sac State.

Homicide investigators haven’t released details – but her family posted resources for domestic abuse victims in their tributes to her online.

A string of officer-involved shootings in May were also linked to domestic disputes.

According to the experts, there has been an increase in domestic violence cases as we start to come out of the pandemic. One significant contributor, they say, is the increased freedom as we emerge from the pandemic.

Studies show domestic violence calls for help increased substantially during the pandemic, but now that we’re coming out of it, experts say abuse increasing even more.

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“So when a victim wants to return to their pre-pandemic activities, abusers may not be prepared to allow that to loosen the reins,” said Allison Kephart, of Weave.

Kephart says Weave—which provides services to domestic violence victims—is seeing an increase in both the intensity of abuse and the overall number of reports. It’s an issue we first reported on in May following a series of officer-involved shootings linked to domestic disputes.

“People going back to work and back to school—all of that is really pushing the boundaries of the isolation that abusers have been able to hold in place during the course of the pandemic,” Kephart said.

Experts stress the most dangerous time for a victim is when they are trying to leave.

Abuse often escalates as abusers attempt to maintain control, but right now, even returning to in-person work and school could be a similar trigger.

“I think we’re going to see the effects of this for a very long time just because of all the layers of impact that the pandemic has had on victims,” Kephart said.

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Weave stresses that people in abusive situations should be aware it may escalate now – even if you aren’t actively threatening to leave, and they say there are resources for anyone who feels trapped or threatened.

Julie Watts