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These are tough times. And sadly, one public health crisis doesn't stop for another.
This includes domestic and intimate partner violence, which is drastically increasing during the course of this pandemic. Practicing social distancing and staying home is great for reducing the spread of COVID-19, but for many people, staying home isn’t always the safest option. People in a violent relationship are 500% more likely to die in a domestic violence situation when a gun is present. This is especially scary right now because people have been stockpiling and hoarding guns in their homes in response to the pandemic.
Domestic violence doesn’t always look like explicit physical violence. Here’s how COVID-19 could uniquely impact intimate partner violence survivors, from our friends at the National Domestic Violence Hotline:
- Abusive partners may share misinformation about the pandemic to control or frighten survivors, or to prevent them from seeking appropriate medical attention if they have symptoms.
- Abusive partners may withhold or threaten to withhold healthcare information and access.
- Programs that serve survivors may be significantly impacted –- shelters may be full or may even stop intakes altogether.
- Survivors who are older or have chronic heart or lung conditions may be at increased risk in public places where they would typically get support, like shelters, counseling centers, or courthouses.
- Travel restrictions may impact a survivor’s escape or safety plan.
- An abusive partner may feel more justified and escalate their isolation tactics.
If any of the above sound like they may be happening to you or someone you love, here are a few suggestions for survivors that may make them feel a little bit safer, from the National Domestic Violence Hotline: