For domestic violence survivors, COVID-19 presents additional barriers to breaking free
During a time of social isolation, survivors need to know they're not alone. If you are in need of support, text LOVEIS to 22522 to reach The National Domestic Violence Hotline.
During a global health crisis when public places like schools and businesses close, domestic violence survivors have few places to escape to. The social isolation and additional financial stressors can create opportunities for abusive partners or other perpetrators of violence to take advantage of their victims, including:
- Withholding necessary items, such as hand sanitizer or disinfectants that are essential during the coronavirus outbreak.
Sharing misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic to control or frighten survivors, or to prevent them from seeking appropriate medical attention if they have symptoms.
Withholding insurance cards, threatening to cancel insurance, or preventing survivors from seeking medical attention if they need it.
Using social distancing or shelter-in-place orders to justify an escalation of their isolation tactics.
If you or anyone you know are experiencing any of these signs:
- Create a safety plan that will help during this stressful time. A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after you leave. Safety planning involves how to cope with emotions, tell friends and family about the abuse, take legal action, and more. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can help survivors walk through a potential safety plan.
Practice self-care. Life during this pandemic is already stressful; this additional anxiety can be overwhelming. Be gentle on yourself and pay attention to your health and wellness needs. Rest if you need to, eat regular meals, and find activities that give you joy, such as reading, watching a funny movie, meditating, or baking.
Reach out for help. It’s important to stay connected with family and friends, even if it’s online or on the phone.
Be an ally. Check in on neighbors and friends who may not have access to their regular network of allies. If you see something or suspect someone is experiencing abuse, say something. Make a difference.
Please share this information with anyone you think may be at risk.
Remember that you are not alone. There is always support available, including during this health crisis. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 at 800-799-7233 and through chat. You can also text LOVEIS to 22522.