How the pandemic is impacting victims of domestic violence

COVID-19 and domestic violence

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - It’s described as a pandemic within a pandemic. Some experts are concerned quarantining and just dealing with the everyday struggles of the pandemic is making it more dangerous for victims of domestic abuse.

An outreach advocate for AshaKiran, a resource for victims of domestic abuse said abusers in domestic violence situations are using staying safer at home to their advantage.

“It is kind of the perfect storm for victims with intimate partner violence. The lives of these victims are already filled with fear under normal circumstances but because of COVID, victims are at a severely increased risk for more violence in the home,” she said.

She also said during the pandemic it’s making it harder for victims to get access to services they need.

Over at Crisis Services for North Alabama, another resource for domestic abuse, Becky Cecil said they first noticed COVID-19 impacting victims of domestic abuse from the start.

“When businesses shut down victims were stuck at home with their abusers,” Cecil said. “Our domestic violence calls went up about 25 percent right when we shut down last year.”

At this point in the pandemic, Cecil said they are also seeing other issues.

“Someone may have lost their jobs and now they are home with their victims, or there are kids at home, there’s different stressors,” Cecil said. “People are isolated, which isolation is a huge part of domestic violence but right now it’s normal to be isolated. So your friends and family may not realize this is an issue.”

With the help of resources like AshaKiran and Crisis Services of North Alabama, victims are able to get out.

Another big resource is now the new text to 911 text feature in Madison County.

Mary Gomes with the 911 Center said this is a resource victims can turn to when they can’t make a call.

“Having the aggressors in the nearby vicinity and not being able to make that noise to cry out for help you are able to do that through text.”

For more information on AshaKiran click here.

For more information on Crisis Services of North Alabama click here.

Copyright 2021 WAFF. All rights reserved.