The Violence at HomeBy Nannette S. Funderburk, PhD, LPCS / December 2, 2020
During this pandemic, COVID-19 has made many changes in the foundations of our society. Not being able to work, live, and socialize in the ways that were once normal in order to be as physically distant as possible has sequestered us to the safety of our homes. Safety, for some, is a relative word, and finding it at home may be elusive.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in three women, one in four men, one in seven children, and one in ten elders live with violence inside their homes. If the violence is inside the home, how do work, education, and life take place in that environment? How can individuals stay safe from domestic and intimate partner violence?
Safety plans are a staple in protection from domestic violence. It allows a person to do the strategizing prior to the violence, which allows for a greater chance of accessing safety. During this pandemic, it is difficult to flee the family home and connect with other households. Victims of all ages do not have the escape and peace of work, school, faith groups, and community activities anymore. Turning on a camera during a meeting or class could serve to expose the person who is abused, or the abuser, which may be embarrassing at best and dangerous at worst to the person who is being abused. Some sources cite that the abuse statistics have risen during this time due to the added financial, health, education, work, and childcare stressors.
One may ask the question “Is there any relief for the person experiencing domestic violence in the pandemic?” The good news is it is always possible to make a plan. Doing this is integral to maintaining safety. Simply because we cannot connect as easily face-to-face, it does not mean persons experiencing abuse cannot have thought through next steps. Some options include:
- Having a conversation on a safe phone (one that is difficult on which to review calls or listen on another line), at a safe time, and letting trusted people in on what is occurring.
- Ask trusted neighbors to call police if they hear noise coming from your home.
- Devise a signal word or phrase to use if talking to a friend while in the presence of the abuser. An example may be “I need butter.”
- Note the locations of public phones that could be easily accessed.
- Make a plan for what you and other vulnerable people in the household will do if leaving the house is impossible. How will you decrease the chance for injury as much as possible?
This can be scary to ponder, but it is the insurance necessary for decreasing damage, injury, and loss of life.
Our current way of living is very different due to the pandemic; however, some of the former stressors with us are the same. Safety must remain an option.
Contact information for assistance:
- When in immediate danger – 911
- The Family Justice Center – (336) 641-SAFE (7233); “One stop shop” for safety planning, legal services, medical care, confidential shelter placement and many more services
- National Domestic Violence Hotline – (800) 799-SAFE (7233)
The S.E.L. Group, The Social and Emotional Learning Group, is located at 3300 Battleground Ave. Suite 202, Greensboro. Phone 336-285-7173.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and visit: www.theselgroup.com.