Resources for Domestic Violence Victims During COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place Orders

Finding help and resources for domestic violence victims is more important now than ever.

Shelter-in-place, lockdown, and isolation orders raise fears and concerns for victims of domestic violence and child abuse—where the greatest danger is often in the home.

If you’re a victim or know someone who is, domestic violence organizations are encouraging victims to seek help. Victims of domestic violence face more social isolation in general. Abusers have more tactics at their disposal when victims can’t get away from home.

Seeking Help During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Even with schools, restaurants, and venues closing down, many domestic violence (DV) organizations, hotlines, and shelters are still willing to help. Victims can also seek help from the courts, law enforcement, and emergency services.

Domestic Violence Organizations and Shelters

Social distancing requirements and shelter-in-place orders make it even more difficult for domestic violence victims to seek help. Many shelters are working hard to remain open, and many DV organizations are taking calls and emails. Contact them if you need help.

DV organizations are also working to develop new strategies to support victims during the Coronavirus public emergency, including offering hotline services via online chat or texting in case victims cannot call with an abuser at home.

Below are links to DV organizations with information on how to stay safe during the Coronavirus outbreak:

More victim resources are available here. The Office for Victims of Crime has an online directory where you can search for a local DV organization or shelter.

Protection or Restraining Orders

Courts might be limiting hours of operation but many remain open for high priority cases—which usually includes emergency protection or restraining orders. Check your local court’s website for information on their hours and how cases are being scheduled. This resource from the National Center for State Courts provides a list of state court orders relating to domestic violence matters.

Also, some courts have self-help websites, domestic abuse service centers, or a victims’ service center with additional resources. A local DV organization might be able to assist you navigate the court website or process.

If you have an order in place and the abuser violated the order, contact the police.

Emergency Services, Law Enforcement, and Hospitals

As shelter-in-place orders go into effect, know that they have exceptions for emergencies. To see if your city or state has a shelter-in-place order, check the websites for your state or local health department, city or mayor's office, police department, or governor. You might find a frequently answered questions (FAQ) section that summarizes the order.

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