COVID-19 Injury Lawyers

When Shelter in Place Isn’t Safe: Domestic Violence and COVID-19

Posted April 6, 2020

Millions of Americans have been told the way to flatten the curve to slow the spread of COVID-19 is through sheltering in place. But what happens for those people whose home isn’t safe? For those who experience domestic violence from a partner or parent, that question is all too important.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “About 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime and reported some form of IPV-related impact.” Additionally, “At least 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse and/or neglect in the past year, and this is likely an underestimate.”

With shelter in place orders in effect across the country and schools closed, the risk of violence for these individuals is much greater.

While some police departments are reporting higher calls of domestic violence incidents, the overall number of calls into organizations to help domestic violence survivors has declined during the novel coronavirus pandemic. This is likely due to fears that the abuser will hear the call or has already taken away all forms of communication.

The other major problem is that courts across the nation have closed, only hearing the most urgent cases. Many courts are dismissing petitions that are not life or death simply because of the lack of resources to handle the calls. Some advocates are suggesting that filing should be used as a defense to ensure it is heard by the court system. But what happens to those individuals facing violence when the abuse does become life-threatening?

This is not just an issue when it comes to domestic violence incidents, but also for child custody. If an ex has a history of violence and is the parent with custody of the child at the moment, there have been reported issues of the child being taken back to the custodial parent, or for the noncustodial parent to be okay with the child staying in a place with the custodial parent until the mandates have been lifted.

This creates more issues for these individuals who face violence at the hand of a partner. Many shelters are struggling to keep their doors open as mandates limit the number of individuals permitted in one space. 

With lack of space in shelters for domestic violence survivors, the courts not being able to hear all cases and the fact that victims may not have the resources to get help, COVID-19 is proving to be dangerous on every level. 

Domestic Violence Protection During COVID-19

When you have been ordered to shelter in place for your protection from COVID-19 as a survivor of domestic violence, this is anything but safe, especially when your abuser is in the home with you.

If you are experiencing domestic violence and/or child abuse during COVID-19, don’t want to get help. Contact us today. We have family law and criminal defense attorneys across the country waiting to help you. Your safety is an urgent matter.

Posted in Domestic Abuse.