In the United States, the daily count of those infected with COVID-19 is on a steady incline. As state officials scramble to flatten the curve and prevent the further spread of the coronavirus, many of us have been told to shelter-in-place. To some families, this can be an easy process in order to promote safety and health. For those of us who have experienced and/or are currently experiencing domestic violence, the lockdown may seem far worse than the actual symptoms of the coronavirus.
Those who are already in a domestic violence situation have experienced fear and isolation. Now add on the precautions and instructions to stay home from the COVID-19 pandemic and there is a formula for danger and an increased chance for domestic violence to continue. Fear and anxiety of the abuser may lead to further abuse and the need to exercise physical, mental, financial, and emotional control over the victim. The abuser may resort to using COVID-19 to further isolate victims from family and friends. The greatest danger and the greatest number of offenses occur in the home.
Where to find help
When looking for help, be sure to secure and protect your computer, Internet searches, and telephone. We suggest that you set privacy settings on all devices that you will use to reach out for help. If you have a separate device from an abuser, secure it and plan on keeping that device in a safe location.
If you can get away, do it! Do not feel helpless. Law enforcement agencies and some local courts are available for emergencies and assistance. There are DV organizations and resources still available to victims of domestic violence. The Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Domestic Violence Hotline offers services to victims. Local organizations such as the Crisis Center of South Suburbia, Focus Ministries, MorningStar Mission, Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network, and DuPage Family Shelter Service are operational and ready to assist in any way that they can.
Below are some resources and Domestic Violence organizations with information on how to stay safe during the Coronavirus outbreak:
- Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline: The Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline is free, confidential, multi-lingual and is open 24 hours a day. Call 1-877-863-6338 for assistance.
- DuPage County Family Shelter Service: Visit www.familyshelterservice.org for more information and/or call (630) 469-5650.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: Staying Safe During COVID-19; online chat available at thehotline.org
- RAINN: RAINN Is Here For You, No Matter What; online chat available at rainn.org
- Domesticshelters.org: COVID-19 articles available and online chat
We are here to assist you
We are aware that everyone has been affected by the recent response to COVID-19 but we hope that you find some comfort in knowing that we are still operational and here to assist you. If you are a victim of domestic violence, we can assist you with obtaining an Order of Protection.
To the extent possible, we will offer remote consultations and provide services from a distance.
This is a legal advertisement from Sterk Family Law Group. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.