The new coronavirus pandemic is forcing many to be stuck at home and adding more stress into the mix. It’s a bad recipe for those already fearful of domestic violence.
While stay-at-home orders are in place in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, “for many survivors, staying at home is not necessarily the safest option,” said Denise McCain, director of the Prince George’s County Family Justice Center, which provides services for survivors of domestic violence.
McCain spoke Thursday at a virtual town hall hosted by Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy.
Job losses, ensuing financial issues and a lack stress relief outlets are “really creating a very high-stress environment, which does have a negative impact on survivors, and it does create circumstances where they are not as safe,” McCain said.
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She added that they have not seen a significant increase in calls about domestic violence, but she expects that a surge is on the way, calling this “the quiet before the storm.”
She suggested that those who are fearful should have a trusted friend or family member check in each day, ideally at the same time.
“If you don’t answer the phone, that’s an indication you need help,” McCain said.
She stressed that many services are still available.
“Understand that you still have options to leave,” McCain added. “So, please, be very strategic, be proactive, but get help, call 911, whatever you need. Don’t let this pandemic hold you in fear.”