Reaching Out for Help from Domestic Abuse During COVID-19

The last couple of months most of the country has been taking precautions during this public health concern by staying home and social distancing. Unfortunately for many, home may not be a safe space.  In 2018, 174 women were killed by a male intimate partner across 64 Texas counties. According to the Texas Council on Family Violence, that is the highest number of women killed in the past decade. Of those, 67 percent were killed at home.

Families or individuals who are suffering from domestic abuse need to know that they are not forgotten during this pandemic. Just because we are having to isolate ourselves for our health does not mean that victims of domestic violence need to stay locked in an unhealthy home life.  They need to know that they are not alone and that they can reach out for help.

In the fifth and final installment of NAM’s series on family violence in the shadow of COVID-19, Director of NAM’s Family Violence Center, Sheryl Johnson, shares information on how those suffering from abuse can reach out for help.

What should someone living in an abusive situation know?

“Anyone that is being hurt needs to know that what is happening is not their fault and it is illegal,” said Johnson.  “They need to trust their instincts and know they have a right to protect themselves and their children.”

What resources are available right now for someone to get help or get away from their abuser?

“All of the local resources are still open and available to help,” Johnson stated. “NAM’s Family Violence Center hotline is available 24/7 at (281) 885-4673 or toll-free at (888) 750-4673. The National Domestic Violence hotline is open at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), as well as law enforcement (9-1-1) and the courts. Reach out to an agency such as the Family Violence Center and talk to someone about what is going on and how you can develop a plan to be safe.”

What if the woman is afraid to call or in a situation where she can’t talk on the phone?

“Did you know that you can text 9-1-1 in an emergency? If you feel your safety is at a greater risk by making a phone call, you can text 9-1-1. Briefly let them know your circumstance and location,” claimed Johnson.

Are there ways that friends or family members can help?

“A person in an abusive relationship can confide in a family member or friend. Together they can decide on a code word that indicates you are in trouble, so they know to send help now,” suggested Johnson.  “And if you suspect that someone is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1 right away. If you’re the person who knows someone that is experiencing this type of violence in their family and you just need ideas of ways to help, call NAM’s Family Violence Center hotline for support.”

If you, or someone you know, is suffering from domestic violence, call NAM’s Family Violence Center 24-hour hotline for help. Call (281) 885-4673 or toll-free at (888) 750-4673. 

The Family Violence Center is dedicated to breaking the cycle of violence by assisting victims of domestic and sexual violence through crisis intervention, long-term support services, and through community violence and awareness prevention education.

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