Sheltering In Place Protects Public Health But Endangers At Risk Spouses and Children
The coronavirus pandemic has continued rampaging across the country and around the world. The death toll has been horrifying, and the economic damage severe. There are other looming threats as well, including many which have been overlooked or underreported. Right at the top of the list is the risk of increasing domestic violence cases in the midst of the pandemic.
At first, many people wouldn’t understand the connection, however, once you see the risk factors involved it’s easy to see how the pandemic has created a nightmarish situation for the victims of domestic violence and abuse. Strict lockdown or shelter in place policies have meant that these at-risk individuals are quite literally trapped at home with the person who is causing them emotional and physical harm.
At risk individuals can no longer flee to a friend’s or family member’s house for the night or the weekend. They may not be able to find new temporary or permanent housing for themselves, or be able to afford to do so, either.
Further, in many cases, people are not only home together, but are home together for far longer periods of time than they would otherwise, without going to work for larger portions of the day and week. Not to mention that the pandemic has elevated everyone’s stressors to a high degree, creating a potentially volatile and explosive set of circumstances.
On top of all of this is the reduced capabilities of police officers and emergency responders to quickly and efficiently respond to calls pertaining to domestic violence. With their efforts and energy diverted elsewhere, these are the types of calls and cases that often fall through the cracks. Unfortunately, domestic violence calls often fall through the cracks even in the best of times when there isn’t a pandemic changing our very way of life.
The United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has even spoken out on the subject of domestic violence risks during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s now become a topic talked about in outlets such as The New York Times and NPR, though with such a quick news cycle these days, and so much depressing news to sort through, it’s still far from the forefront of most people’s minds.
If you or a loved one is at risk of domestic violence, consider visiting TheHotline.org, home to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you need legal assistance in the state of Maryland or have any other questions, call our office at 240.395.1418.