With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting millions across the country, many families are stuck at home observing mandated stay-at-home orders while only those with essential jobs are out and about.
For some, being forced to stay at home is protective but as many divorce lawyers are finding out, it can be dangerous for others.
Domestic violence is on the rise as people shelter from the virus and it’s becoming a serious problem.
Domestic Violence On the Rise Amidst Stay-at-Home Orders
With many forced to self-isolate at home either due to a local stay-at-home order or for fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus, many people are cooped up together in small spaces with little chance to get out of each other’s way.
Divorce attorneys understand that this is the perfect storm for violence, with tempers flaring due to the stressors of lost income, health concerns, dealing with children at home due to school closures, and other worries.
According to local hospitals and domestic violence organizations, cases and calls have increased substantially since stay-at-home orders have gone into effect.
The implication is that violence in the home is presently increasing at alarming rates due to these circumstances, probably much more than what is evidenced by reports and ER visits.
Sadly, many of these cases involve children.
Abuse Victims Unable to Access Help
One reason that divorce lawyers have found with those experiencing domestic abuse while being forced to isolate is the inability to escape their abusers.
Normally, people have the ability to leave their homes and seek help on the outside or find moments of privacy when they can make a call for help.
Now both of these solutions have become nearly impossible as abusers and their victims are being confined together for days and weeks on end with no one leaving the dwelling.
Some victims do take chances to access help any way they can; however, it is thought that many others are simply withstanding the abuse for now, waiting until they can leave their homes.
Domestic violence services expect the number of reports and victims seeking help to skyrocket once stay-at-home orders are lifted.
Shelters Are A Solution - But Are They Safe?
Another problem noted by divorce lawyers is that many victims fleeing domestic abuse are looking at many local shelters being full and of those that are not, how safe are they from COVID-19?
Domestic violence shelters leave those entering them with the significant possibility of being exposed to the very virus we are all trying to escape because every new person who comes in is a potential contamination threat.
This is unfortunately yet another reason divorce attorneys have found as to why victims are choosing to stay in their homes even when abuse is taking place.
Get Help for Domestic Abuse Then Call An Attorney
In light of these extraordinary circumstances caused by COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, domestic violence organizations stress the need for those experiencing violence in their homes to get help somehow so the situation can be diffused.
Whether that help comes sooner or later, there is help available through a variety of local organizations taking calls to help an increasing number of victims find ways to get out of abusive situations, even during pandemic lock-downs.
Once out of harm’s way, victims may want to discuss their situation with a divorce attorney who can represent them in a case against their abuser and work to make sure the abuse does not happen again.
Reynaldo Garza, III - Attorney at Law
680 East St. Charles St, Suite 600
Brownsville TX 78520