TWI Empowerment: Domestic Violence Safety Planning During COVID-19

COVID policies such as working remotely and sheltering in place might be combating the pandemic, but for many abuse victims, home isolation is a dangerous option. Combined with the pandemic’s financial and emotional burdens, domestic violence poses a growing threat to safety. Below is a proposed safety plan with practical methods to help victims protect themselves and get help despite the current circumstances.

  1. Do your own research about the pandemic, as abusive partners may share misinformation to frighten you from seeking medical attention.
  2. Be aware that violent tendencies may escalate under current shelter-in-place policies.
  3. Try to ensure access to sanitizer and disinfectant.
  4. Try and ensure that your insurance cards are with you.
  5. Find the “safest room”, or a low-risk area of the house, to move to during an argument. Hide potential weapons and locate exits to the outside.
  6. Designate a safe space in your house that can be used to call emergency services using an old cellphone. Always keep a phone charger on you, and wear clothing with pockets to carry both.
  7. Stay in contact with friends and family either online or over the phone in case of an emergency. Establish a “code word” to alert them for help.
  8. Establish and use discrete code words with your children to alert them to leave a room or call for help.
  9. Pack a bag for a quick escape that includes any important documents and medication.
  10. Make sure you have adequate access to food during the pandemic by rationing quantities, hiding small amounts, or reaching out to local food pantries still in operation.
  11. Find an outlet for isolation self-care such as journaling, physical activity, reading or meditating.
  12. Utilize online and phone helplines as an alternative to the limited accessibility of abuse shelters currently.
  13. Look into emergency custody petitions pertaining to the safety of your children. Visit WomensLaw.org for information on adjusted court operations.
  14. Call the police in the case of any life-threatening emergency.
  15. Contact your local clinics or domestic violence agencies to alert them of your situation and get additional information about staying safe during the pandemic.

Sources: National Domestic Violence Hotline, Mayo Clinic, and Women Against Abuse

https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/abuse-at-home-safety-planning-during-covid-19

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