What happens if igranted a restraining order against the respondent for domestic violence and he…
Guest Writer: Andrea Williams
In a world stricken by a global pandemic, stay-at-home orders or lockdowns have become a primary method of slowing down the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Bad as COVID-19 statistics are still around the world, things could have been so much worse now without stay-at-home orders.
However, for a person experiencing domestic violence, being forced to stay home renders her essentially trapped with the person perpetrating the abuse.
Mandatory lockdowns may be proving effective at curbing the spread of COVID-19, but being in such close quarters with abusive partners day in and day out is putting the lives of countless domestic violence sufferers in danger.
Victims of abuse need the help of family, friends, their domestic violence attorney, and other resources, but reaching out to them has become trickier during the pandemic. So, what can victims do to protect themselves against domestic violence during COVID-19 lockdowns?
Know You’re Being Abused
Physical abuse is the most telling sign of domestic violence, but it goes beyond that. Domestic violence can also be psychological, emotional, sexual, financial, or spiritual.
Unfortunately, some people are not even aware they’re being abused, particularly those who are not being subjected to physical violence. In the time of COVID-19, signs of domestic violence also include the following:
- Scaring you from visiting family using COVID-19 as an excuse
- Scaring or controlling you with misinformation about the coronavirus
- Stopping you from getting medical attention if he is symptomatic
- Threatening to infect you with the virus if he has symptoms
- Blaming you for giving him COVID-19, especially if you’re a healthcare worker
- Withholding hand soap, hand sanitizers, disinfectants, face masks, and other necessary items
- Stopping you from reporting for work
- Withholding money, food, and other essentials
Remember, you don’t have to be punched, kicked, strangled, or bitten by your partner to become a victim of domestic violence.
Put A Safety Plan In Place
The National Domestic Violence Hotline encourages the creation of safety plans for those who are in an abusive relationship. With a personalized safety plan in place, domestic violence victims will have a guide that will provide the steps they need to take in the event they decide to leave, as well as information on staying safe long after you leave an abusive home behind.
Self-Care Is Paramount
Being at the receiving end of abuse in a time such as this is bound to take a toll on your physical, emotional, and mental health.
Leaving and filing appropriate charges is still the ideal way of dealing with ongoing domestic violence. However, if you decide to stay for whatever reason, the least you can do is practice self-care.
Cope with your domestic situation by engaging in activities such as yoga, meditation, or simply getting fresh air in the backyard, all of which can do wonders for your health and well-being.
As previously mentioned, leaving and filing charges is your best bet against domestic violence. However, that would prove to be tricky if you don’t or can’t reach out to people and resources that can provide you with the help you need.
Granted, the COVID-19 pandemic does make you think twice about going to shelters or staying with family and friends when you flee an abusive home. There is always the danger of getting infected or infecting someone else with COVID-19.
Nevertheless, your loved ones will always be willing to help if you only reach out to them. They will still give you shelter if you need it. You just have to make sure to continue following established COVID-19 protocols, from washing your hands regularly to practicing social distancing.
Crucial to your getting help from friends and loved ones is your ability to stay in touch with them. While you’re still inside an abusive home, make sure you use all available options to communicate.
You can text, call, FaceTime, email, or contact them on social media to make them aware of your current situation. Be careful, though, because your abusive partner may be monitoring your online activity.
Most importantly, don’t hesitate to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 to talk to someone. When you speak to one of their trained advocates, you will receive guidance on how to handle your domestic situation, among other things.
Domestic violence has been around long before the coronavirus, but the COVID-19 pandemic just made things worse. Nevertheless, your safety and those of your children are of paramount concern. Whatever fears you may have about COVID-19, don’t let them get in the way of protecting yourself and your children from the consequences of domestic violence. If leaving is what it would take to survive an abusive home, then do it, while following all the safety practices against COVID-19 at the same time.
About the Author
Andrea Williams is the Community Manager at The Law Offices of Alcock & Associates P.C., a premier law group in Arizona that provides legal services to clients involved in Personal Injury, DUI, Immigration and Criminal cases. She enjoys cooking, reading books, and playing minigolf with her friends and family in her spare time.