By Olga-Rodriguez Vidal
March 20, 2020
Domestic violence happens in the home, so when people are urged to shelter in place because of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, abuse and violence can increase. If you are quarantined with someone who abuses you, or know someone in a similar domestic violence situation, know that Safe Horizon can help. You can visit our resource page to view your options or review these safety tips you can use during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Consider Creating a Safety Plan
A safety plan is a strategy you can use to minimize risks. Your safety plan can change as your specific concerns and situation change. While under the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) quarantine, you may want to make changes to your safety plan to help keep you safe. For example, if physical violence often occurs in the kitchen at a specific time, a safety plan would outline alternative places and times you can plan to be to curb the violence while sheltering in place.
We always encourage survivors to collaborate with an expert to create these plans. Our Domestic Violence Hotline advocates are trained to safety plan with survivors and are available 24/7 to collaborate or just a listening ear. Call to speak with an advocate at 1-800-621-HOPE (4673). If you’re unsure about calling an advocate, you can find out what to expect by reading how an advocate named Nia safety plans with survivors.
If it is not safe to speak over the phone, you can chat with an advocate: visit http://safehorizon.org/safechat.
Our official safety planning page also provides a more in-depth guide in how you can create your own safety plan if sheltered in place with someone abusive.
2. Continue to Stay in Touch with Your Support Network
It’s difficult for many of us to be isolated due to being quarantined because of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), let alone if you are at home with the person abusing you. Now is a great time to think of different ways to connect to the people you trust and who support you the most. To engage in face-to-face contact, you can video chat using free phone apps like WhatsApp or Apple FaceTime. Texting, speaking over the phone, or even using social media can also help you stay connected. You can check in with your support system daily, and even implement protective strategies for when you know the person causing harm is likely to react. For example, you can tell your support network that if they don’t hear from you by a certain day or time, to send help.
3. Know There is Help
Sheltering in place while with someone abusive during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic may make you think twice before reaching out for help – we are here to say please don’t hesitate, because help is here. At Safe Horizon, we are doing everything in our power to make our services available to help domestic violence survivors, especially at this time of crisis.
Our Domestic Violence Shelters are also still open. We are still providing safe spaces for people in danger and can provide you with basic needs when you come to shelter.
We are providing real-time updates of site closures or reduced services here as they occur on our web page https://www.safehorizon.org/emergency/
Please take care of yourself and stay safe.