Domestic Violence & COVID-19
Posted in Domestic Violence on April 27, 2020
Shelter-in-place orders due to COVID-19/coronavirus concerns have significant ramifications for people who are not safe at home. Adults and children trapped with abusive or violent household members may be at serious risk of bodily harm. At the same time as the stay-at-home order, courthouses throughout the US have shut down or significantly reduced their operations – making it more difficult for domestic violence victims to obtain protection orders. If you are the victim of domestic violence during the coronavirus pandemic, learn your options. Act now to get out of a dangerous situation.
What Are My Options If I’m Unsafe in My Home During a Quarantine?
Not everyone has the luxury of quarantining from COVID-19 in a safe home environment. Thousands of people – especially women and children – may be at risk of serious mental and physical harm from being stuck in a home with abusers. Financial strife from lost jobs due to the coronavirus can make home life situations even worse for victims of domestic abuse. They may face more severe abuse, on top of no longer having the funds or resources to leave. If this sounds similar to your situation, review possible options for your safety and that of your children.
- Call (800) 799-SAFE (7233). This will connect you to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. All calls to this number are 100% free and confidential. You can also chat with someone online 24/7. An experienced domestic violence professional with training related to COVID-19 and quarantine considerations could guide you to resources, relief and safety. You can find the solution your family needs during this uncertain time.
- Seek shelter. If your abuser is ever out of the house, relocate yourself and your children to a safe shelter. Solana Beach and the surrounding area have a few options available for domestic violence shelters. The national hotline can direct you to them. Enlist the assistance of a trusted friend or relative, if possible, while trying to maintain at least six feet of distance and wearing masks and gloves.
- Contact a family law attorney. An attorney can offer legal advice and assistance for you as a domestic violence victim during the COVID-19 pandemic. A lawyer can help you protect yourself, your children and your legal rights with remedies such as an emergency protection order and/or bringing criminal charges against your abusive spouse. A lawyer can also help you file for divorce, if desired.
Should I Break Shelter-in-Place Orders If I’m Worried About My Domestic Safety?
Added stress from a lockdown and negative financial impacts on families can increase the frequency and severity of domestic violence and abuse during COVID-19. Aside from being trapped in quarantine with an abuser, many victims are also too afraid to leave a dangerous domestic situation due to fears of catching the coronavirus. Some abuse victims may be too afraid of contracting COVID-19 to seek medical attention at hospitals for violence-related injuries. For example many people do not know which is more dangerous – staying home or leaving.
If you cannot rely on your domestic safety, break your shelter-in-place order to seek help. Emergencies are valid reasons to break the order without facing legal repercussions in your county. If you fear for you or your child’s safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, maintain social distancing guidelines and wear masks, if possible, while you escape to a safer location. Go to the nearest hospital and/or women’s shelter for assistance. Professionals at these facilities should abide by best practices in terms of virus prevention and sanitation for your optimal safety. You do not have to quarantine with an abuser if your safety is at risk. Seek professional help now.
Contact a Solana Beach Domestic Violence Lawyer
Even in the time of the coronavirus crisis and lockdown orders, many family law attorneys in California are keeping their offices operating at full capacity. Many attorneys are working around COVID-19 related issues with solutions such as virtual meetings, teleconferences with judges, electronic document submissions and e-signatures. Your lawyer can help protect you as much as possible with official legal orders during the pandemic.
If you have been victimized in a domestic violence incident(s), we are here to help navigate you through this exceedingly difficult situation. Our lawyers, Jim Ratzer and Morgan Dobis are both certified family law specialists by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization. With more than 30+ years of combined family law experience, our attorneys bring expertise and experience to every case they take on. To schedule a free initial consultation call us at (858) 793-7700 or contact us via our online contact form.