Resources and Support for Those Coping with Abuse During COVID-19 “Stay at Home” Directive

As the Governor has directed us all to stay in our homes during this time of physical distancing, it is important to acknowledge that for those who experience interpersonal violence, home itself may be an unsafe location.

Research suggests that domestic violence increases during times of community crisis. This may be due to a combination of factors such as heightened stress, and for some the decreased capacity of law enforcement to respond. In addition, people who are being harmed, or fear being harmed, now lack routine opportunities to be away from abusers (like going to work, running errands, etc.). They may also face limited opportunities to flee their circumstances due to lack of financial resources from being laid off, or closures of usual safe spaces.

During this time, it’s essential that all of us reach out to those in our lives who live under these circumstances.

  • Check in more frequently than you would under normal circumstances. (Remember that the person may not be able to talk freely in the presence of their abuser so consider texting or using whatever type of communication the person is most comfortable with.)
  • Consider setting up an agreed-upon scheduled time for a call or text, and/or choosing a code word they can send to ask for help when an abuser is nearby.
  • Share resources with them when safe to do so and let them know that help is still available.
  • You can provide support, encouragement and empower them to get help, but keep in mind that you can’t “rescue” them, they have to decide it’s time to get help. 

If you’re experiencing interpersonal violence, know help is still available. Hotlines and support services can be accessed by phone, text, or virtually on the web. If you have safe access to a computer, you can use this Interactive Safety Planning Guide to help keep yourself safe.

Each Mind Matters stands with those who may be facing heightened dangerous and unsafe circumstances during this time. If you or a loved one are currently experiencing or have experienced abuse, know you are not alone. Help is available to you.

COVID-19 General Resources: