03/26/2020

Are you trapped during COVID-19?

EMERGENCY RESOURCE PHONE BANK FOR VICTIMS SEEKING HELP DURING COVID-19

In April, Survive2Thrive will be launching an advocate phone bank to support trapped victims during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

We will be offering resources to victims who find themselves displaced and homeless but needing to leave their violence now!

Donate and support this effort today here!

MORE about COVID-19 and Domestic Violence

In a recent Time.com article dated March 18, 2020, the National Domestic Violence Hotline cited mandatory shelter-in-place guidance to curb the spread of COVID-19 traps domestic violence victims in their homes with their abuser(s), isolated from people and resources that can help them.

Some abusers may even use COVID-19 pandemic as a means to further isolate and alienate the victim from their family and friends.  Recent projections of national unemployment figures anticipate hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people will be unemployed due to COVID-19. Financial pressure is a factor that guides gender-based violence victims back to abusive relationships.  Abusers may blame the victim for loss of work and financial pressure; and may even blame victims for contracting the virus themselves and inflict more violence and abuse.

The daily stressors on domestic violence victims are substantial, which lead to health implications and compromised immune systems.  COVID-19 has proven deadly to those with compromised immune systems.  As health systems, hospitals, and medical facilities become increasingly taxed, victims will have difficulty accessing the necessary medical services they need in case of a physical harm.

Nationally, domestic violence victims who seek safe housing are turned away from their local emergency shelter due to shelter overcrowding.  Victims who return to their homes or in close proximity to an abuser will likely experience continued abuse.  According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, for many survivors, staying home may not be the safest option.  Victims also feel as though they cannot return to their parent’s homes for fear, they may expose them, particularly for elderly parents with health concerns, to the COVID-19 virus.  This is true of any family member but especially for victims with parents over the age of 65.

Victims who cannot find alternative housing are categorized as “displaced and homeless”.  Austin-area statistics are significantly better than the national average, but nearly 13% of self-identified victims of domestic violence experience displacement and homelessness.

The Survive2Thrive Foundation supports domestic violence victims.  The foundation is experiencing an increase in violent incident reports and projects the recent COVID-19 pandemic will significantly increase Austin-area victims experiencing displacement and homelessness (D&H). This is a dangerous and critical time for domestic violence victims.  

Unfortunately, shelters are at capacity and their current residents are choosing not to leave because of pandemic shelter-in-place guidance, and victims have very few post-shelter housing options.  

It is also simply unsafe for these victims to live with family and friends because of the uncertainty of COVID-19, how it spreads and the lack of available testing.  Shelters are also leery of admitting new clients, particularly when there is a lack of COVID-19 testing kits.

Because the city, and private and public social service programs do not have the ability to determine who may be infected, victims will find themselves co-quarantined with their abuser for an undetermined period of time.  Statistically this will lead to more violence and even death.

HELPFUL RESOURCES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

The World Health Organization – www.who.int

Center for Disease Control and Prevention – cdc.gov

The National Domestic Violence Hotline – thehotline.org – 1-800-799-7233