A significant concern that lawyers, human rights experts, activists, and survivors themselves have had since the lockdown and stay-at-home orders have begun, is the increase in domestic violence.
Whether the perpetrator is a family member or it’s a situation of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), calls and complaints have steadily been on the rise. We’ve seen this before, too, with rates going up during times of natural disaster and calamities as well.
While we’ve been told our homes at the safest places we can be, it’s not the case for everyone. People fear for their safety and lives as assault and violence have been more aggravated.
Factors and Facets of Domestic Abuse during COVID-19
Not that any reason makes it justifiable, some of the factors that contribute to this are the lack of available help, limited access to the outside world for perpetrator and victim, financial insecurity and other concerns.
Abuse can also take on other forms, including financial abuse, as mentioned above. Limited income, job instability, and pay cuts affect this immensely, as the abuser channels their rage on the victim.
Other forms of abuse may not be overtly violent but can impact emotional and physical well-being, such as withholding protective and sanitary gear, manipulation and misinformation, scare tactics, using mobility restrictions to curb contact with family and friends, and much more.
If you or a loved one are at risk of violence in your home, take the following measures to help keep yourself safe:
Seek legal counsel immediately
The situation could escalate at any given time, which is why there is no room for risks or delays. If you’re in the middle of divorce or separation proceedings, put in a request to expedite the process, or get a restraining order against your abuser.
It’s incredibly difficult to follow through, but you might want to get the separation or divorce process started while you have time off work.
Make a comprehensive safety plan
The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides a detailed guide to making a comprehensive safety plan for what to do if the situation gets out of hand. When you’re panicked and worried, it can be difficult to remain logical and take the best course of acion, so having this planned ahead of time will help ensure your safer, most secure escape.
Preparing and keeping essentials safe
This might be a part of your abuser’s scare and control tactics, but that’s why you should focus on getting everything you need over time. Your passport, I.D., bank details and checkbooks, cash, jewelry, property documents, and any other valuables that might come in handy should be stored away safely and secretly.
If your partner has withheld your documentation or threatens you over it, please notify us and the hotline immediately.
Alerting friends and family
Getting our on your own might be difficult, so it’s best to have trusted friends and family on board. This could also include immediate neighbors wh might double as witnesses, parents, siblings, or anyone who might be able to offer you help.
Nobody deserves to feel scared in their own home, especially during such risky times where nowhere else is available. Protect yourself and your kids. You’re not alone.