If you are experiencing a crisis involving domestic violence, please call the 24-hour crisis line. Help is just a phone call away. (336) 723-8125.
While stay-at-home orders have presented certain challenges for everyone, extended periods of isolation can be traumatic for survivors of domestic violence.
The Family Services Domestic Violence Shelter has not had the anticipated spikes in calls relating to domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, but according to Shelter Coordinator Linda Witherspoon, survivors face more challenges in reaching out for help and support and have far less privacy.
The following factors may be contributing to domestic abuse cases not being reported:
COVID-19. One of the biggest and most immediate factors in reporting abuse and leaving an abusive relationship right now is the fear of contracting coronavirus or fear of passing the virus on to family members. Our shelter officials try to put these fears to rest by explaining all the precautions and measures being taken to protect our survivors and our staff.
Fear of calling 911. With news reports about emptying prisons and jails to reduce the spread of COVID-19, survivors are less likely to call 911 because they fear their assailant might be released.
Isolation is often the first step an abuser uses to convince a victim that their controller is the most important person in the world. By using isolation as a method to cut off family and friends, the abusive partner has a greater amount of control in the relationship. Stay-at-home orders exacerbate this problem.
Dependency. There may be fear of leaving reliable income and going to a shelter. And, as the pandemic continues, they may worry about job availability, accessing child care, or finding housing.
Lack of privacy. What enables a survivor to escape abuse is extensive safety planning. A critical component of safety planning is having privacy to plan and leave.