A victim of domestic violence faces many challenges, however, during these times with COVID-19, they are faced with even more barriers. Those who are living at home with their abuser during these times during the “stay at home, stay safe” order is not a safe option. For them, they are literally staying at home and trying to survive.
As we expected, calls are beginning to surge, as we knew there would be a spike in requests for services. For the first couple of weeks into the stay at home order, calls were normal, and in fact, down. However, the last couple of weeks, they are beginning to significantly increase.
For victims of domestic violence, their abusers take this opportunity to inflict their power and control even more so, due to the pandemic, especially for those victims who may have recently left their abusive relationship just prior to the stay at home order, and now the abuser is contacting them and making empty promises that they have changed, begging them to return home, and taking advantage of trying to push the right buttons to persuade their partner they need them and promising them how things will be different. For many, their financial situation is another barrier that keeps them from being away from their abuser.
For children – with schools closing and them not having access to their teachers, coaches, social workers to confide in (all of whom are mandated reporters), they are not seeing children in person to be able to notice the signs of abuse to in fact report it.
Since March 17th through June 9th, Dove’s Domestic Violence Program has assisted in 84 Emergency Orders of Protection and have placed 16 adults and 6 children in off-site shelter. Staff have continued to answer all 5 of our 24-hour hotlines in all of our counties – Macon, Moultrie, Piatt, Shelby and DeWitt. In addition to off-site shelter and legal advocacy pertaining to order of protection assistance, we have provided safety planning, crisis and telephone counseling, information and referrals.
For anyone in need of services who is a victim of domestic violence, call 217.423.2238 for Macon County; 217.935.6072 for DeWitt County; 217.728.9334 for Moultrie County; 217.762.2122 for Piatt County; and 217.774.4888 for Shelby County.
Teri Ducy, Director
Dove Domestic Violence Program