Domestic Violence Safety Guidelines During COVID-19

During the current Coronavirus pandemic, people have been directed to observe social distancing guidelines - venturing out of our homes only for essential needs.  Parents have new roles of supervising the education of their children in addition to the responsibilities of working from home in new and often stressful conditions.  While this time of togetherness can be positive for many families, it can also be a time of conflict. Avoiding public spaces and working remotely can help to reduce the spread of the virus, but for those experiencing domestic violence, staying home may be dangerous. Abusers can take advantage of an already tense situation to gain more control.  Because of this, it is important to be aware of resources and how to stay safe during these times.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline has provided various examples of how COVID-19 can impact victims of domestic violence, some of which include:

  • Abusive partners may prevent their partners from seeking medical attention if they display symptoms and increase their isolation methods
  • Abusive partners may spread misinformation about the virus to control or frighten their partners
  • Victims may fear going to a shelter for fear of breaking physical distancing guidelines by being around others. Shelters may also be at capacity, not accepting intakes, or closed
  • The execution of a victim’s escape/safety plan may not be viable due to travel restrictions

Have a Safety Plan

If you are in an abusive situation, an individualized safety plan can protect you. Your plan should be shared with trusted friends or family that can intervene if necessary. The safety plan enables you to be safe while in the relationship, in the process of leaving, or after you have left. A code word can be created that will alert your friends or family that you need help or a possible call to the authorities. To learn more about creating a safety plan, click here

The following are resources at the local and national level:

Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence - 1-800-500-1119

The National Domestic Violence Hotline  If you would like to talk to an advocate, contact them by phone at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).  Also, look for a chat feature within the website which are available 365/24/7.

Love is Respect – 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522

Crisis Text Line | Text HOME to 741741 for free 24/7 support via text

Refuge House – 850-681-2111

For questions, contact the Employee Assistance Program, eap.fsu.edu.


REFERENCES

  • How COVID-19 may increase domestic violence and child abuse. Abramson, A. (2020, April 8).
  • Combatting domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. (2020, April 13).
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