In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, many government officials have ordered for Americans to stay in their home for their own safety and the safety of others. However, some homes do not provide a safe shelter and there has been a rise in domestic violence, child abuse, and depression over the past few months.
With added tensions and stressors caused over fear of COVID-19, financial burdens of unemployment, and increased time spent together, domestic violence calls have drastically increased. But help is available. Read below to learn about resources that may help save lives.
Turning Point Lehigh Valley offers a safe place for those suffering from domestic abuse and their children to find refuge. Along with a 24-hour helpline, the nonprofit provides an emergency safe house, empowerment counseling, empowerment groups, legal advocacy, outreach education, and medical advocacy. They have helped more than 85,000 victims since they first started in 1976.
It’s important to recognize that domestic violence doesn’t have to solely be physical. According to their website, “Domestic and intimate partner abuse is a crime. If you are mentally, sexually, physically assaulted, threatened or harassed by a person you are living with or intimately involved with, you are a victim of domestic abuse. Abuse can be verbal, physical, emotional, sexual or economic.”
Don’t hesitate to call if you and your family are in need of a safe shelter. If it’s a friend who needs a place to go, help them develop a safety plan and share the Turning Point Lehigh Valley’s resources with them.
Domestic abuse may be more common than one would presume with 10 million people abused each year in the U.S. alone. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence offers great information and resources on domestic, pet, elder, and child abuse, the Pennsylvania laws surrounding the matter, and tips for intervening and noticing the signs, plus more.
For many, it can be difficult to recognize that what they are enduring is indeed domestic abuse and it is not normal nor deserved. The PCADV offers a confidential quiz on their website to determine if your partner’s actions are abuse. If you are in immediate danger, call 911 or seek help from your local domestic violence program.
The National Domestic Violence hotline provides another source for those in an abusive household, or those that fear that someone they know may be in danger, to receive information and guidance. The site offers both a 24/7 confidential number to call as well as an online chat with highly trained expert advocates, if that method is safer.
Discover more information in their blogs on a variety of topics such as pregnancy and abuse, LGBTQ abuse, and healthy relationships. No one is alone or should feel embarrassed to reach out for help. There are options available. Find which ones work for you and most importantly, get to safety.
Get the Help You Need
Leaving an abuser to get help may seem scary and dangerous, but there are resources that can help through the journey. Call 911 for immediate help or a helpline mentioned above for direction on where to go and what to do. Local safe houses can provide a place for you and your children to find refuge while you make a permanent plan to take back control of your life.