TARRANT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – While residents are being asked to stay home in order to stay safe, times are now even more dangerous for those in abusive relationships.
“There’s just so much more opportunity for an abuser to abuse, and for a victim not to get out and get the help that she needs,” said Kathryn Jacob, the president and CEO of SafeHaven Tarrant County.
The non-profit helps survivors of domestic violence. Jacob said before stay-at-home orders were issued, call volume to their hotline went up. It’s since leveled off, but likely not for good reasons.
“We have to believe that it is because domestic violence victims found themselves stuck at home with their offenders which can be a really scary situation,” Jacob said.
In another concerning trend, Jacob said they’ve seen an increase in the severity of the calls they are receiving.
“We’ve heard about survivors being tied up,” she said. “We’ve heard about survivors being hurt in a variety of ways for trying to escape.”
So what can you do? How can you put together your own safety plan? SafeHaven gave these guidelines:
- Create a code word and exit plan. Find at least two people you can contact if you need help.
- Plan with your children. Decide how you’ll communicate urgency to them. Also practice calling 911.
- Pack an emergency bag. Have extra keys, clothing, medications, important documents and the like.
- Notify police before an emergency. Let the know the history of your relationship and that you have concerns about being isolated with your abuser.
- Find the “safest room” in your home. It should be a room where there are no weapons, and there are ways for you to escape like a door or window.
- Seek social support. Find friends and support groups where you can connect virtually.
- Create a peaceful space. If you cannot leave, at least have a personal haven in your home for yourself and your children.
Always remember to call 911 in an emergency. If you’d like to talk to a trained advocate who can help you create a safety plan, you can call SafeHaven’s 24-hour hotline: 1.877.701.7233.
If you are outside Tarrant County, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1.800.799.SAFE (7233). It will connect you with someone locally who can help.