COVID-19 in Relation to Violence at Home
Updated: Sep 28
Due to COVID-19, most businesses, schools, stores, and restaurants are closed at this time. We as Americans are advised by the CDC, our President, as well as our governors to practice social distancing. This means doing your part to distance yourself from one another and most times includes staying home when possible.
This can bring challenges for those living with an abusive individual, whether it be a sibling, partner, parent or any other entity. Staying at home with this individual may cause an increase in mental and physical abuse. Fear not, Thrive Together is still here, ready to help.
While our offices in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids are not accessible to the public, we are ready and willing to meet with you via videophone, phone, or text.
With a pandemic like this, financial strain can be a big trigger for abuse. Please know that you are not alone. If you are in a dangerous situation or need help, please do not hesitate to contact our crisis hotline immediately.
China, where the virus originated, reported a surge of reports in domestic violence. A news source of China says that advocates have seen three times as many domestic violence calls. Financial stress, job stress, or general anxiety about the COVID-19 is never an excuse for violence or any type.
DomesticShelters.org outlines a few ways that abusers may use this virus to manipulate survivors:
Manipulate survivors into believing there are no resources available for them or that police or paramedics won’t respond to their calls.
Try to tell survivors that the abuser is infected, that they’ve infected the survivor, and if the survivor leaves them, they’ll put others at risk (a way to try them at home).
Forbid the survivor from seeing friends or family because of the risk.
Downplay the risk and force the survivor to leave the house, or threaten to kick them out and expose them to the virus.
Limit sharing critical information about the virus with survivors.
To ensure you are receiving correct information on the virus, do your part in keeping up with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), your state guidelines (Iowa Department of Public Health), and information from your governor or local county press briefings.
Planning for a Safe Quarantine
If you are trapped in a home with an abusive partner, walk through the possible scenarios and decide ahead of time what your response will be.
Are my health and my children’s health at risk as I am quarantined with my abuser?
Is there anywhere else I can go where I will be safe for an extended period of time?
Have I contacted a domestic violence advocate near me?
Is there a safe friend or family member I can stay with?
If I’m afraid of leaving without my pets, can I find a safe place for them to go?
Questions courtesy of domesticshelters.org.
Thrive Together is here to help in any way we can. If you need assistance or know someone who does, please do not hesitate to call our crisis hotline. One of our experienced advocates would be happy to guide you through this difficult time.
An article about guarding mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.