“Stay at Home” increases threat for domestic abuse victims

by Skylar Sales

With the current events happening now around the coronavirus (COVID-19), people have gone into a panic over the income and supplies needed to survive this epidemic. But we must also keep in mind the people who use the outside to escape the troubles that lie at home. This state of emergency could cause a rise in domestic violence cases.

Since the government is suggesting people stay inside their homes, people who are victims feel more trapped, not only by the virus. They are also at risk of being trapped in abusive and coercive situations, which also gives them less of an opportunity to access the services they need for help.

“Self-isolation is an important step in the fight against the coronavirus, but can be dangerous for the thousands of children who grow up in homes with domestic abuse,” said Emily Hilton, senior policy and public affairs officer at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

In the United States, more than 5,000 people have been confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus. The National Domestic Violence Hotline also reports that the number of calls they have received say that domestic violence abusers are using the virus to further restrain their victims from seeing friends and family.

“Perpetrators are threatening to throw their victims out on the street so they get sick,” Katies Ray-Jones, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline tells TIME. “We’ve heard of some withholding financial resources or medical assistance.”

Due to the high volume of infected going to the hospital and health systems being overloaded, more domestic violence victims are finding it harder to gain access to medical care or therapists. Much like everyone else, caseworkers have now moved to help their clients online and many victims are relying on hotlines to report their abuse and seek help.

If you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic violence, please seek help with one of the hotlines listed below:

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522.

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741

Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453