As disorienting as life has been in recent weeks, many of us have at least been able to find comfort and protection within our homes. But, for a rapidly growing number of people, home is far from a haven.
“We know lockdowns and quarantines are essential to suppressing COVID-19, but they can trap women with abusive partners,” said United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier this month. “Over the past weeks, as the economic and social pressures and fear have grown, we have seen a horrifying surge in domestic violence.”
During the first three weeks that shelter-in-place measures were put in place across much of the United States, the National Domestic Violence Hotline received 2,345 calls in which COVID-19 was cited as a condition of abuse. Meanwhile, those restrictions have made many of the usual resources for victims inaccessible. Shelters, for example, have either closed or dramatically limited their intake. In-person counseling is no longer available. And law enforcement may take longer than normal to respond—if they respond at all.
There’s little someone can do to physically escape their abuser. However, there are still options for victims:
- When searching online for resources, do so through an option in the search engine that doesn’t record your search history, such as Google’s Incognito.
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE (7233)) offers anonymous, confidential help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For anyone concerned about being overheard by a partner, text or chat with the hotline online (TheHotline.org). The organization is formulating plans for keeping survivors as safe as possible while keeping them in the home.
- If there’s an immediate danger to you or your children, don’t hesitate to call 911 for help.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you are not alone. And, if you know someone who’s a victim, now more than ever, we have a responsibility to look out for each other and help in whatever ways we can.
How you can help
For the last 55 years, NORWESCAP has been helping to support low-income families and individuals across Northwest New Jersey. Today, as our region and country face the threat from COVID-19, that commitment is stronger than ever.
If you’re looking for opportunities to volunteer, donate materials, or otherwise support NORWESCAP’s work during this crisis, call MaryBeth Ringo at 848-459-5882 or email her at email@example.com. Monetary donations may be made here.