When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, the country put restrictions and stay-at-home orders in place to keep the virus from spreading. But for many, home is not a safe place. Agencies across Texas reported that domestic violence has become more frequent, more severe, and more dangerous. In Dallas alone, there was a 20% increase in domestic violence reports from February to March. This statistic is incredibly alarming because even before the coronavirus pandemic, a third of Texans experienced domestic violence.
Below are some facts about COVID-19’s connection to domestic violence.
- COVID-19 Isolated Domestic Violence Victims
Isolation is a classic tactic used by abusers to assert power and control over their victims. It causes victims to become more dependent on their abusers, stopping them from reaching out to others for help. The United States’ response to the coronavirus pandemic made it almost effortless for perpetrators to isolate their victims. Partners are now required to spend 24 hours a day together in confined space.
To achieve extreme isolation, some abusers have been using the virus to manipulate their victims into believing that it is too dangerous to leave home for help because of the risk of infection. Other abusers convince their partners that are no resources available to them because the country has shut down.
It is critical that people check in on their friends and family because isolation can shatter support networks. In these times, you will not organically see each other at church, the grocery store, parties, or other events.
- COVID-19 Made It Harder for Victims to Seek Help
It is important for domestic violence victims to know that there are still resources available. You can always call the domestic violence hotline, and shelters are still open in Frisco, although some are providing modified services.
Despite there being resources available, the pandemic has created an environment where it is harder for victims to get help. For example, when you are stuck in the home with your abuser, it may be difficult to sneak away to call for help without being overheard. Even if you are able to make a plan to leave, the pandemic has made it harder to find a time to leave the home. Certain cities and towns have limited public transportation, and there are restrictions for guests traveling out of state.
In addition to logistical roadblocks, victims may be hesitant to get help or enter a shelter because they fear to get the coronavirus. Family members that may have opened their homes before the pandemic may be resistant now because of the risk of infection.
- Domestic Violence Victims Can Still Get Protective Orders
Even with the court closings, domestic violence victims can still get protective orders. Protective order hearings are considered essential proceedings in Texas, and the courts are still accepting applications.
However, some of these hearings are being held through video conferencing in virtual courtrooms. This change can cause difficulties for individuals with limited internet access. If you need a protective order, you should reach out to a local Frisco attorney.
- Stress Resulting From COVID-19 Can Trigger Domestic Violence
Stress is linked to higher rates of domestic violence and aggressive behavior. Studies have shown that it can increase a perpetrator’s need to control and abuse their partner.
Everyone across the entire country has been experiencing stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions have lost their jobs and the ability to provide for themselves and their family. Children are out of school, and parents are having to navigate homeschooling. These concerns are all on top of stress relating to health concerns and the fear of getting sick.
- The COVID-19 Pandemic Made It More Difficult to Leave
Becoming independent and leaving your partner is difficult at any time, but the circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have made it that much harder. With millions of people unemployed, the job market is incredibly tough. Even housing is more difficult to find, with many apartments not taking applications and short-term stays banned in many cities. The pandemic left many people strained, and people who you would have leaned on before may no longer be able to offer the help that you need to leave your abuser.
Your Frisco Domestic Violence Attorney
If you have been accused of domestic violence, you should immediately reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney. It is important to hire a criminal defense attorney in Frisco, Texas who will fight aggressively to protect your rights and build a strong defense. Call the Law Office of Philip D. Ray today at (469) 588-6770.