Domestic Violence Cases Increase During Stay At Home Orders
By Space Coast Daily // November 20, 2020
States across the country continue to push one main idea to stop the spread of the coronavirus: the safest place for someone to be is at home.
As many states start to reissue stay at home orders to match the increasing number of positive cases, people across the country are expecting their dissatisfaction. However, for some, home may not be the safe haven it is for others.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life for many across the globe, and unfortunately has led to a surge in the rates of domestic violence.
With the closure of major businesses, non-profits, and charities, victims of domestic violence and their children or pets are struggling to find access to safe housing, transportation, or resources to remove themselves from unsafe situations.
Studies have found that there are vast barriers and challenges a person needs to overcome to leave an abusive relationship, such as securing a safe place to stay, finding people who are able to help their transition and establishing independence away from an abusive partner.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created even more hurdles to overcome during this difficult transition – whether the closure of domestic violence resources or by adding stressors that increase the rates of abuse.
Now, with no end in sight to the infectious pandemic, many are sheltering in place in homes that aren’t the safe havens they are intended to be.
How COVID-19 Has Impacted Domestic Violence
While many people have adapted to the social isolation and nuanced schedules presented by the pandemic, those in less ideal situations are finding difficulty in the extended period of time they are having to deal with their abusers in a confined environment.
“The social distancing and isolation from the pandemic have limited a survivor’s access to family, friends, and community outlets that they would normally be able to use to distance themselves from an abuser,” said Mark Sherman from the Law Offices of Mark Sherman, LLC.
“Domestic violence has always been a horrific issue, but the serious financial and social impacts of the pandemic have made it so much worse.”
Many studies conducted during this time have shown an alarming increase in the number of reported instances of domestic violence, such as an 18% increase in San Antonio, Texas and a 27% increase in Jefferson, Alabama.
The same research is also indicating that the violence occurring during the pandemic is intensifying from bruises and cuts, into knife wounds, strangulations, and gunshot wounds.
While some local domestic violence resources may have limited openings or availability, many national and local domestic violence hotlines and shelters continue to be open during the coronavirus pandemic.
There are many ways that survivors can reach these resources, such as over the phone, through the internet, or in person, and many within the community continue to work with this vulnerable community to help survivors access the resources they may need.
Moving Forward in a Difficult Time
While the pandemic has presented an incredibly challenging time for many, there is a need to understand that one person’s experience may differ from others. Working or learning from home may be easy and straightforward for some, but for others home could be a tense and stressful environment.
As businesses and organizations adapt to a new world, many are moving services online or over the phone where they were not before.
For those experiencing domestic violence, this means that they may not have to leave the house to access critical resources. Websites like thehotline.org or local YWCA websites can be additional outlets for a person to view the aid available to them.
The coronavirus pandemic has not been easy for many, especially those dealing with an abusive partner or family member. Sometimes, getting out is the hardest part – but it may not have to be.
Many charities or domestic violence organizations remain open to help anyone looking to remove themselves from an abuser, even during the pandemic, and they may offer great resources to those who are leaving an abuser in a global pandemic.