Help is here: A message to domestic violence victims facing stay-at-home orders
SALISBURY, Md. – For many people across Delmarva, the stay-at-home orders are viewed as a way to keep themselves safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
But for those that experience violence within their household, the orders could do more harm than good.
“When the abuser is in close proximity they don’t feel like they have the opportunity to really reach out for help,” said Executive Director for the Mid Shore Council on Family Violence, Jeanne Yeager.
Experts tell 47 ABC these new orders, while important, have posed a new challenge for domestic violence victims.
“Going to school or going to work may have been their safety time. And then that time with the abuser would’ve been limited because people were apart during the day. Now, they’re probably all together so it can increase the risk of some violence or arguments,” said Domestic Violence Clinical Services Coordinator for the Life Crisis Center, Karen Hughes.
Yeager says in the beginning, her organization saw a dramatic decrease in the number of hotline calls due to confusion regarding the stay at home orders.
“The message they heard was everything was shut down. The courts were shut down. There’s no place to go.”
But these advocates want victims to know that there is still help available.
“We’re still open, we’re still available to help people who may be in need,” said Hughes.
They add that if you feel that you’re in any kind of danger to call 9-1-1 or have a plan in place for you or your loved one.
“Just start thinking about it. Where would I go? What would I do? How would I respond? Where do I even need to go in the house to stay safe,” said Hughes.
But ultimately they want you to know this:
“You’re not alone. We, the community, are there for you. And don’t listen to anybody that says there’s no place to go,” said Yeager.
Yeager and Hughes also say their legal team is still working with clients and that you can still get protective orders despite courts being closed. If you or your loved one are experiencing domestic violence and want help you can contact the Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence hotline at 1-800-927-4673. Or you can reach out to the Life Crisis Center at 410-749-4357