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Being at Home Does not Mean You’re Safe [COVID-19]

Domestic Violence and Child Abuse on the Rise

Financial stress. Social isolation. Being with your family 24/7 and not knowing when this will end.

These conditions may put family members at risk. Before COVID-19, if you or a loved one were concerned about violence or abuse, you could stay with a family member, lean on your religious community, or remove the abuser through a protective order. Many of these options are no longer available.

All these factors can leave victims feeling trapped, as the abuser is either working from home or unemployed.

Also, children who are usually in school, daycare, out with friends, or at the playground, are home, which can add to stress levels for everyone.

Child abuse can take form in name-calling, verbal assaults, withdrawing love, abandonment, and failure to provide adequate education, shelter, and nutrition.

Without hope, victims are at increased risk for substance use abuse, eating disorders, and low self-esteem.

The COVID-19 Domestic Violence World Reality

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Domestic violence cases have surged worldwide. However, some agencies are concerned it is being underreported.

“Our agency has seen a 116% increase in family violence cases from March 26 to date,” stated Texan Police Chief Jonathan Flores. “There is also an increase in the violent nature of the crimes.”

In London, multiple support services had reported a surge in calls to helplines. At the same time, the Metropolitan police said they had made 4,093 arrests for domestic abuse offenses – about 100 per day – since March 9, when people with coronavirus symptoms were asked to self-isolate.

“We’re having ten fewer crime reports each day for instances of domestic violence,” Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said. “That’s going in the wrong direction with what we believe is actually happening behind closed doors.”

Developing a COVID-19 Domestic Violence Safety Plan

**If you are concerned for the immediate safety of yourself and your children, dial 9-1-1**

Call or text either or both resources below for help:

Make a list of the domestic violence shelters in your area, including their addresses and phone numbers. Find out how far they are from your home.

Have one trusted friend or family member you call often. Develop a codeword or phrase that will alert them to phone the police. If your children are old enough, make sure they know that codeword, too.

Find the safest place in your home where you can go that has a locked door if violence breaks out.

Always keep your phone, money, one credit card, and car keys on or near you. Make sure your phone is 100 percent charged most of the time and keep your car tank full.

The Reality in Summit & Medina Counties

“We never turn anyone away. After completing a danger assessment, we provide those in need with the right service at the right time. That might be a bed at our shelter, a bus ticket to stay with a relative, or helping pay part of a utility bill at a friend’s home,” stated Terri Heckman, CEO of Hope and Healing, the parent organization for the Women’s Battered Shelter.

If you’d like to help, please consider making a purchase to their Holiday Giving Program. You can order from Amazon and the items will be sent directly to them. In fact, Terri said this the preferred method of donation in these COVID-19 times.

Conclusion

COVID-19 has no doubt added to the stress levels of even the most balanced of individuals. If you are concerned about your physical safety or that of a loved one, be sure the steps above are followed.

The critical thing to know is you are not trapped. There are always options, even without the support you are used to leaning on during difficult times.

We Conduct Domestic Investigations

SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc. can provide fast, professional, and affordable criminal or civil domestic violence investigative services. We guarantee the highest degree of confidentiality. Please contact us at 330.255.1101 or email us at [email protected] to tell us more about the ways we can help you or a loved one.

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