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What should I know about COVID-19 and domestic violence?

This is a difficult time for everyone. Because of the COVID-19 health crisis, social distancing measures require people to stay at home for longer periods of time.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers violence as a serious public health risk. Violence in the home may manifest in the form of children being abused or neglected, experiencing physical harm through intimate partner violence, and the elderly being neglected or abused.

Because of COVID-19, it may feel like persons experiencing domestic violence have no access to help due to limited outside social contact, or they may not be able to find a safe place to go due to social distancing measures.

Persons perpetrating violence may also seem like they have more control, in the form of withholding credible information about COVID-19 and even sharing misinformation in order to frighten and further isolate victims.

COVID-19 may have also impacted the ways in which persons experiencing domestic violence make plans to leave, since they may be worried that programs such as shelters and counseling centers are not operating due to enforced social distancing measures.

If you or someone you know are planning to get out of domestic or intimate partner violence, here are some of the things you may consider doing:

  • Create a plan on how you and your dependents can remain safe while you are in your current situation, when you plan to leave, and after you leave.
  • Pay attention to your personal needs such as rest and nourishment, and practice self-care whenever you can.
  • When it is safe for you to do so, reach out to people you trust for help and try to maintain meaningful social connections remotely.

If you have experienced or are experiencing violence in your own home, it is important for you to know that you are not alone.

You have it within you to seek help through reaching out to people you trust and organizations committed to getting people experiencing physical harm in domestic situations to safety. Please refer to "What resources exist for domestic violence victims?"

Source: CDC

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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