The Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has radically changed the lives of all individuals. There are victims of abuse that have the added crisis of being quarantined at home with an abuser and/or social distancing from the community at a time they really need guidance and help. SAY San Diego would like to create awareness about those individuals in the “shadows” of the pandemic.
Here’s how COVID-19 could uniquely impact intimate partner violence survivors:
- Abusive partners may withhold necessary items, such as hand sanitizer or disinfectants.
- Abusive partners may share misinformation about the pandemic to control or frighten survivors, or to prevent them from seeking appropriate medical attention if they have symptoms.
- Abusive partners may withhold insurance cards, threaten to cancel insurance, or prevent survivors from seeking medical attention if they need it.
- Programs that serve survivors may be significantly impacted –- shelters may be full or may even stop intakes altogether. Survivors may also fear entering shelter because of being in close quarters with groups of people.
- Survivors who are older or have chronic heart or lung conditions may be at increased risk in public places where they would typically get support, like shelters, counseling centers, or courthouses.
- Travel restrictions may impact a survivor’s escape or safety plan – it may not be safe for them to use public transportation or to fly.
- An abusive partner may feel more justified and escalate their isolation tactics.
If you or someone you care about is experiencing violence, here are a few suggestions that may help:
- Create a safety plan to outline ways to remain safe while you are in your current situation, planning to leave, or after you leave.
- Practice self-care as much as possible.
- If it is safe, reach out for help and try to maintain social connections through phone calls, texts, emails, and social media platforms.
National Domestic Violence Hotline for any victims and survivors who need support 24/7 call 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 for TTY, or if you are unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.