As schools shut, public spaces close, and all but essential workers are ordered to stay indoors under shelter-in-place orders across the U.S. and globe, domestic violence services are scrambling to help vulnerable people navigate home lives that they say are increasingly unsafe during the pandemic. What happens when you’re trapped at home with your abuser?

In recent calls to our Help In Crisis hotline, mentions of the Corona Virus have cropped up. One woman told an HIC advocate that the virus had ruined her plans to leave her abuser once her children finished up their school year. Her abusive husband is now home 24/7 after being laid off from his job and he won’t allow her to leave the house even for essentials. Another female caller reported being afraid to go to them emergency room after being strangled for fear of catching the virus at the hospital.

At Help In Crisis our advocates worry that confining people with their abuser could exacerbate the frequency and intensity of abuse- as the pandemics economic fallout further threatens survivors financial stability. Social distancing means that many victims are no longer in contact with other people who may notice something wrong or be there to listen. Abuse thrives in silence and beyond closed doors. Victims may be trapped at home with an abuser making it more difficult for them to secretly and safely call for help.

But at Help In Crisis we are “full steam ahead” just doing things a little different. We are continuing to provide emergency services such as safe shelter, protective orders and forensic interviews. Our advocates are continuing to provide life-saving advocacy via phone, text and video chat. Our hotline is answered 24/7 for victims and law enforcement officers who may need our help.

So Dear Survivor, we know you are out there, we know you are scared and we want you to know that we are here for you. Call us anytime, even if you just want to talk. We can help you make a plan and we can help you carry out that plan when you are ready.

Dear Community, thank you for always helping us consistently throughout the year. We absolutely could not provide the service we provide without your support. Please continue to remember us throughout this difficult time. Your financial contributions of any size with sustain us through this difficult time. Let’s continue to look out for one another. We all know someone in our community who we know or suspect is in an abusive situation. We need to be checking in with folks, asking if they want to talk or need a couch to crash on, letting them know we are here for them.

Laura Kuester

Help In Crisis

Executive Director