We Are Here for Victims of Relationship Violence Who Aren’t Safer at Home
As COVID-19 restrictions tighten, it’s creating the perfect storm for incidents of relationship violence to surge. Stay-at-home mandates, unemployment, school closures and other factors are adding to the overwhelming stress and volatility of already abusive relationships. Staying home for victims of relationship violence can be just as dangerous. What do you do if you’re trapped in the most terrifying place — your own home?
As abusive partners feel more justified to escalate their isolation tactics, it becomes harder for victims to report it. Victims generally wait to be alone before they seek help. They wait for their abuser to go to work, for children to be at school, to secretly reach out for help. All those options are currently unavailable.
We continue to encourage victims to call our 24-hour hotline at 1-877-854-3594 to access our shelters and other supportive services, including therapists and counselors. During times of public crisis, a safety plan—a personalized plan that helps victims stay safe while in a relationship, planning to leave it, or after leaving—is critical. If a victim is not planning to leave or cannot leave, safety measures can be taken, including formulating a plan to call 911 if the victim cannot or will not call (working out a signal for a neighbor to call or teaching children to call), practicing how to exit safely with kids or pets, and calling on any type of support network available; be that friends or acquaintances that live nearby.
Our hotline advocates are available 24/7 — ready to talk through your unique situation and create a safety plan around it. It’s vital to have a plan in place that can be practiced in the most stressful of circumstances. For example, a basic ready plan could be to have house and car keys in a safe, accessible place along with social security cards, cash, a few changes of clothes, food stamps, credit cards, prepaid calling cards and medication. Our resources are all considered “essential services” and are still operating, and could potentially be a lifeline if you’re in quarantine with an abusive partner.
Now more than ever, we must watch out for each other. At Human Options, we remain available and ready to serve those in need of a safe space — through these especially stressful times and beyond.
If you, a friend or anyone you know feels trapped in an abusive relationship, call 911 in the face of immediate danger, or contact our toll-free hotline anytime at 1-877-854-3594.