Stay-At-Home Orders Increase Risk for Domestic Violence Survivors

Guest post by Monica Sutherland, Family Tree

For some of us, being outside is the most dangerous place to be; but for thousands of people worldwide, the most dangerous place to be is in their very own home. While governments are managing stay-at-home orders, many people who have been experiencing domestic violence have been unable to leave their abusers.

According to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, “The number of women calling support services have doubled” in many countries around the world. During the month of March, agencies in Jefferson County have seen domestic violence calls increase by up to 34%. Numbers were expected to be even higher in April, as the stay-at-home orders took effect.

However, some people in the position of abuse may not even have the availability to reach out for help. Often, those who are in abusive situations experience technological abuse, meaning their partner who chooses to abuse will take control over their devices, leaving them unable to have any private conversation that the abuser would not have knowledge of. Family Tree’s domestic violence crisis line is experiencing an average call volume, but we expect an increase as restrictions change.

Survivors of domestic violence are no doubt experiencing unprecedented levels of isolation during this global pandemic. We are all feeling a little stuck and stir crazy during this time, but we are not all at risk for our lives at the hands of the people with whom we are quarantining.

Family Tree is dedicated to helping survivors as much as possible during this time. As always, Family Tree is committed to addressing the interconnected issues of child abuse, domestic violence and homelessness, all issues heavily affected by this pandemic.

An example of our essential services serving individuals and families at this time is the Family Tree Legal Advocacy Program. This program assists survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking through their divorce, custody and protection order processes. Although we are not attorneys, we provide legal information, court accompaniment, safety planning and general domestic violence advocacy for our clients.

During this time, the Family Tree Legal Advocacy Program is adapting our services to the changing times. Although we are not in our office, we are still providing services to clients through email, phone calls and video appointments.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking and are looking to begin the process of divorce, custody, or protection orders, email legaladvocates@thefamilytree.org or call 303-271-6559. Make sure you are in a safe space and that your devices are not being monitored.

Family Tree Roots of Courage domestic violence emergency shelter also remains open. For immediate assistance, call 303-420-6752.

Home can be the most dangerous place for some to be; but it doesn’t have to be. Seek the help that you or your loved ones deserve and need.

If you want to help survivors of domestic violence during this time, your donation will support Family Tree’s mission and is needed now more than ever. Let’s make sure everyone is truly safer at home during these uncertain times.

This article was originally published at FamilyTree.org.

About Family Tree

Family Tree is a nonprofit human services agency that has provided innovative, life-changing services designed to end child abuse, domestic violence and homelessness in the Denver area since 1976.