By: Melissa Duve, Shelter Services Director and Norma Grinnell, Client Services Advocate
A dangerous mix, the holidays, social distancing, isolation and domestic abuse. One in three women, and one in four men experience abuse in their lives and lockdown measures are making it harder to get help.
Domestic abuse increases during the holiday season as families and couples spend more time together combined with the stress over increasing winter utility bills and holiday expenses. Coronavirus lockdown measures have led to increased incidences of abuse as couples and families are further isolated from the outside world. Social distancing measures have also made it more difficult for victims of abuse to seek help and extricate themselves from abusive relationships.
Counseling, shelters for battered persons and other outreach programs are more crucial than ever. Limited to telephone advocacy as in almost every other segment of society, the coronavirus has drastically affected the work of outreach advocates helping domestic abuse victims. For instance, in-person advocacy has become rare. These days a lot of advocacy takes place over the telephone and makes our job more difficult because it is simply tougher to create interpersonal connections and to build trust remotely.
You can't just lean over and hand someone a tissue anymore or offer a hug. However, we are doing our best to adjust to the times and have made changes to better suit our clients. We are still here. We still want to help. Our shelter is open. You are not alone. Please call our 24-hour helpline to speak with an advocate 1-800-924-2624. If you are isolated with an abuser, or you aren’t ready to leave please read the blog post: Isolated with an Abuser for helpful ways to stay safe through the holidays.