TOLEDO, Ohio — Avoiding public places and working from home can help stop the spread of the coronavirus, but doing so also poses a safety risk for many victims or survivors of domestic violence.
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, survivors' safety can be compromised if they're being forced to stay at home or in close proximity to their abuser.
The YWCA of Northwest Ohio runs an emergency domestic violence shelter, a 17-room, 46-bed facility providing services for survivors. Their main office is located at 1018 Jefferson Avenue in Toledo.
"The coronavirus certainly can add to a level of stress to a family," the shelter's interim director, Shelly Ulrich said.
Representatives with the national hotline warn that abusive partners may withhold necessary items, such as hand sanitizer or disinfectants. They may also share misinformation about the pandemic to control or frighten survivors, or to prevent them from seeking medical attention if they have symptoms.
Ulrich said that she thinks her staff has done a great job preparing and anticipating any increase in numbers they may experience, as well as making themselves available to those victims in this time of need. They're also taking the necessary precautions by cleaning their facilities.
She said that victims can prepare by creating a safety plan in the event that they need to leave an abusive relationship. The national hotline website describes a safety plan as a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after you leave.
The YWCA has a 24-hour crisis hotline at 419-241-7386 or 888-341-7386.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: For any victims and survivors who need support, call 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-799-7233 for TTY, or if you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.
Facts not fear: Putting COVID-19 into context
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