As we work together to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, governmental officials and healthcare workers have emphasized the fact that people are safer at home. But for many people, other dangers wait inside the walls of their own house.
The Tampa Bay Times has reported that CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse), has received a 40 percent increase in helpline calls since the beginning of the stay-at-home order. This is echoed by the National Domestic Violence hotline, where many callers have stated that sheltering in place from COVID-19 is a concern for them. Many domestic violence shelters have also had to reduce their capacity during this time in order to comply with social distancing recommendations from the Center for Disease Control.
CASA and other shelters have suggested that victims develop safety plans to be able to leave their home in the event they are attacked. They also advise reaching out to family members or trusted neighbors or friends. This may not always be easy when a controlling partner is living nearby, so victims may use signals or specials code words to show family and friends that they are in need of help.
One Facebook user has posted that victims of domestic violence can message her asking if she is still selling makeup, when they provide their address for shipping, she is able to send the police to their home. Developing a system such as this one to allow your loved ones to reach out to you if they need help is an effective way to provide assistance to victims. Learning the signs of abuse and checking up on those around us is an important step we can all take in order protect those in abusive relationships.
Just as with the case of the coronavirus, we must all do our part in order to prevent the spread of domestic violence.
Local and National Domestic Violence Hotlines:
Community Action Stops Abuse (CASA): 727-895-4912
The Spring of Tampa Bay: 813-247-7233
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233
Sunrise of Pasco: 352-521-3120