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How do I protect myself from domestic violence during COVID-19?

For survivors of domestic violence, it is important to be aware that isolation and social distancing measures can affect your mental health and well-being as well as that of your family.

  • Try to reduce and manage stress as much as possible through physical exercise, dancing with family, singing karaoke, relaxation or mindfulness techniques, for example.
  • Look out for warning signs and reach out to trusted pamilya or kaibigan for help or support and make a plan to protect yourself and your children if someone you are living with is being verbally or emotionally hurtful, threatening you, having episodes of explosive anger, or harming animals.
  • If necessary, use a code word or phrase to indicate you need help and memorize phone numbers of people and agencies you might need to call in an emergency.
  • Make sure you can easily access cash, personal identification including your social security card and driver’s license, birth and marriage certificates, credit cards, bank information, safe deposit box keys (if applicable), health insurance information, and any documentation (e.g., photos, medical or police reports or other) relating to previous episodes of abuse.
  • Learn about available services and support and seek support from a hotline, shelter, or other health or protection services if needed.

For information and advice, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 (SAFE). For specific resources available, please also refer to “What resources exist for domestic violence victims?”

Source: Pan American Health Organization, John Hopkins Medicine

This article was written and edited by the Tayo editorial desk and has been reviewed by an independent panel of subject matter experts.

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