Most Americans are calling it quarantine. Victims of domestic violence are calling it trapped.
The coronavirus pandemic has become part of everyday life for Americans. Schools are closed. Businesses have shut down. Workers are being laid off at an unprecedented pace. The number of Americans applying for unemployment is skyrocketing.
And social distancing has forced victims of domestic violence into lockdown with their abusers.
Abuse victims need to know that concern for their safety has not fallen by the wayside. Immediate help is available at the push of a button – even while quarantined – but time is of the essence when it comes to domestic violence.
To reduce the spread of the virus, businesses are allowing their employees to work from home. For some, it’s a relief to be able to continue their jobs from the safety of their homes.
For domestic violence victims, it’s devastating news. They are now ordered to be in isolation with their abuser, which can quickly become your worst enemy. And since abuse focuses on power and control, this pandemic can prove even more disastrous.
With less threat of exposure, an abuser will use the stay-at-home orders to their advantage in several ways, such as:
- Withholding necessary disinfectant and hygiene products
- Misreporting statistics to instill fear
- Refusing to provide money for supplies
- Denying access to medical care
- Cutting off contact with friends and family
- Restricting access to food and water
- Demanding sexual acts
There is hope
Accessing available help for victims of domestic violence during a crisis is not as easy as usual. Shelters may be full or closed due to social distancing requirements. Safe havens, such as churches, court offices or even a friend’s house are inaccessible. There are travel restrictions in place that are ruling out potential safety plans.
There is still hope and there is still help. On the national level, there are several helpful organizations that have put together guides. In response to the crisis, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, The National Domestic Violence Hotline and Love is Respect have put together useful resources for victims.
On the state and local level, New Jersey organizations are also rising to the challenge. If you or someone you love is in a domestic violence situation, please visit the following websites for information and assistance.
One of the leading organizations in New Jersey for domestic violence, NJCEDV provides a wide range of resources and support for domestic violence victims. Their website provides a comprehensive guide to services in New Jersey on a county level, as well as a directory of programs that offer help to survivors of domestic violence and their children.
Confidential helpline for youth and young adults that provides support for a range of issues, including child abuse and dating violence.
Assists South Asian women living in the US who are experiencing domestic violence with legal services, counseling, and support accessing housing, public assistance, and other issues.
For individuals who have experienced sexual assault. NJCASA provides hotline access, counseling support, and legal and medical guidance.
The Office of Domestic Violence Services (ODVS) supports 22 domestic violence programs and the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence. There is at least one DCF-funded domestic violence program in each of New Jersey’s 21 counties. They provide core services that include a 24-hour hotline, 24-hour access to a confidential safe house, counseling, advocacy and support services
Project S.A.R.A.H works to overcome cultural, legal, and religious barriers for victims of domestic abuse within the Orthodox Jewish community. Project S.A.R.A.H. connects victims and survivors with a wide range of services, from pro bono legal consultations, therapeutic services, as well as financial and vocational support.
- Phone: (973) 777-7638
- Website: https://jfsclifton.org/projectsarah/
Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline
Operates 24/7, 365 days per year. Provides confidential support for victims of domestic violence or for those needing to find information on the subject. English, Spanish bilingual service available.
- Phone: 1-800-572-SAFE (7233)
Program offering support for women, men, and families experiencing domestic and sexual violence. Includes emergency services, legal support, counseling, children’s services and more.
Are you a victim of domestic abuse? Is someone you love in potential danger? If so, check what’s safest and use some of the options available to get help, such as:
- Dial 911
- Contact your local police department
- Call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-572-SAFE (7233)
- Log on to www.thehotline.org and chat with a live advocate
- Text LOVEIS to 22522
You are not alone. You are not invisible. You can get out. You can become a survivor.