Domestic Violence: Tips for Staying Safe during COVID-19
If you or your family are in immediate danger call 911
SACRAMENTO, Calif. –As the COVID-19 crisis continues, many peopleare spending more time than ever in their homes. With shelter-in-place orders,tensions and anxiety are high for everyone, and this presents a potential riskfor domestic violence.
It’s not always easy to identify when you or someone closeto you is in an abusive relationship, and the signs of domestic violence may bedifferent in each relationship. Abuse can be verbal, emotional, physical or psychological.
“Just because there may not be physical abuse, does not meanthat it is not abuse,” says Dean R.Sobcoviak, chief protective services officer for Sutter Health. “Verbal abuse,psychological abuse and bullying are all real abuses, and the effects can bejust as, or possibly even more damaging than the visible wounds that areobvious from physical abuse.”
Signs of unhealthy,abusive relationships include:
• Physically aggressive with you
• Physically aggressive toward other people or animals
• Abusing alcohol or drugs
• Controls all the finances
• Denies there are any problems
• Isolates you from others
• Verbally abusive
• Possessive, jealous and unpredictable
Recognize these signsin yourself:
• Feel controlled and manipulated by your partner
• Are unable to make your own decisions
• Don’t feel safe in your own home
• Feel watched, even at work
• Feel humiliated, dismissed and helpless
Safety and Self-CareStrategies
If you identify as someone in an abusive relationship, reachout for help:
1. Consider creating a safety planthat includes ways to remain safe while you are in the relationship, planningto leave or after you leave.
2. Continue to stay in frequent contact with your supportnetwork, such as family, friends and co-workers.
3. Recognize that there are many resources available andreach out for help:
- If you oryour family are in immediate danger call 911
- Anonymous, free and confidential support and resources:
o National Domestic Violence Hotline:800-799-7233
- Whether by phone, video chat or in-person, talkto your doctor about what options exist. Your doctor can provide you with areferral to a licensed, professional therapist.
Workplace Support:If you feel comfortable sharing, let your boss know. Ask if your employeroffers additional services for employees in your situation. Not every employeroffers additional services, but informing them may help keep you safe while onthe job.
Domestic ViolenceRestraining Order: This is a court order that helps protect you from abuseor threats from your spouse or intimate partner. To explore the option of adomestic violence restraining order, contact your local District Attorney’soffice or courts.ca.gov/selfhelpdomesticviolence.htm. Filing is free.
Therapy: Workwith a counselor or therapist to build your emotional strength to leave, and toprocess the trauma afterward.
Asking for help can feel difficult or dangerous insituations like this, says Kim Narvaez,a licensed marriage and family therapist with Sutter Health. “A counselor ortherapist will recognize the turmoil you are going through,” Narvaez says, “Justknow that you are not alone, and you have the right to be safe.”
Remember your life is valuable. Get help and remove yourselffrom the situation as soon as safely possible.
If you feel you oryour family’s life or safety are in immediate danger, call 911.