Around the globe, governments have imposed new regulations as a means of protection against the coronavirus. Though necessary to slow the spread, actions such as sheltering in-place, social distancing, restricted travel, and closures of key community foundations can dramatically increase the risk for family violence. In fact many countries are already indicating a marked increase in reported cases of domestic violence.
It is important to remember that domestic violence was a global pandemic long before the COVID-19 outbreak. According to data collected by the United Nations, 243 million women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 worldwide were subjected to sexual or physical violence by an intimate partner in the last 12 months. In other words, one in three women has experienced physical or sexual violence at some point in her life. It is no wonder cases have increased during the lockdown, with so many people being trapped at home with their abuser.
Tips for Staying Safe
During a lockdown, it is not uncommon for victims of domestic violence to face even more fear and anxiety than normal—especially if you are balancing trying to stay safe emotionally and physically from a highly contagious disease. While everyone’s situation is different, here are a few suggestions for dealing with abusive situations.
Stay in Touch with People
If possible, lean on your support network and keep a line of communication open with family and friends. Use social media, text messaging, and phone calls to seek out encouragement or help as you need it.
Create a Safety Plan
Keep track of ideas on how to stay safe while in an abusive relationship, including steps to take when leaving and how to stay safe afterward. The National Domestic Violence Hotline offers a guide on safety planning, but you may need to get creative with planning during this pandemic.
Know Your Options
Before COVID, victims had the option to go to shelters or to stay with family or friends. Unfortunately, options are now limited, with shelters full or closed, and families maintaining distance.
Keep Everything Organized
Be sure you have all your important documents together and find the address to your nearest police station.
Reach Out for Help
If you or a loved one are a victim of domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential assistance from trained advocates. You can also contact She Spies Private Eye, a private investigator who handles domestic investigations. We can guide you with expertise and knowledge to handle your difficult situation in the best way possible.