Domestic Violence: Surviving During a Pandemic

During these uncertain times, many are staying home for their own safety. But if you are dealing with a domestic violence situation, home can be the most dangerous place, especially if the most usual places for escape are no longer available. The economic hardship, increased stress, and new barriers for reporting violence and getting help has created a ‘perfect storm’ for intimate partner violence. In addition, abusers also have increased opportunities to further isolate and control their victims, they may share misinformation to further tighten their control, programs to help may be at capacity or under quarantine, and travel restrictions may impede an escape or safety plan.

The CDC recommends the following advice if you are in a situation of intimate partner violence:

  • Create a safety plan
  • Provide self-care as much as possible
  • Try to maintain social connections with friends and colleagues though phone calls, texts, emails and social media platforms
  • Try to establish a code word or phrase with trusted people to indicate that you need help. Give them clear instructions on what do if you say that word or phrase.  For some, calling 911 may not be the best option
  • Memorize phone numbers of people and agencies you may need to call or disguise those numbers with a generic name
  • Identify safe places within your residence. In a crisis stay out of rooms where you could be assaulted by items not traditionally used as weapons: kitchen, bathroom, any room with a firearm
  • Consider purchasing a phone with prepaid minutes to keep hidden
  • Create plausible reasons for leaving the house
  • Practice how to get out safely
  • Prepare a plausible rationale, if your partner discovers your safety plan
  • Try to make any weapons as inaccessible as possible
  • Try to have important documents and cash available to take with you if you need to leave

Having a safety plan to the best of your ability empowers you to help make difficult decisions and is key to increasing your likelihood of escaping a dangerous situation.

  • National Sexual Assault Helpline: 800-656-HOPE (4673)
  • Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
  • Myplanapp.org: An app designed to help with your safety decisions
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