COVID-19 Heightens Risk for Domestic Violence/Child Abuse
Thursday, March 26, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to increase incidents of domestic violence and child abuse and neglect. With its threat of illness and financial insecurity, the outbreak is fueling anxiety and anger in some households — all while family members are required to remain in close quarters.
The risk is greatly heightened in households where abuse has happened before, and the abuser may take advantage of the situation to exert control.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, victims of domestic abuse may have fewer options to get away from an abuser before tensions build to an explosive point,” said NewBridge Chief Operating Officer Michelle Borden, a licensed clinical social worker, and disaster response crisis counselor.
Meanwhile, social isolation, parenting stress and financial instability contribute to child neglect and abuse, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Borden noted. Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, at least 1 in 7 children experienced child abuse and/or neglect in the past year, according to the CDC.
Prevent Child Abuse America offers tips promoting family harmony here.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, critical resources remain available for domestic violence victims and their children:
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available around the clock at 1-800-799-7233 (1-800-799-7233 for TTY). Anyone who feels unable to speak safely by phone can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.
The New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-572-SAFE (7233) can help connect callers to resources and services near them.
The Jersey Battered Women’s Services runs a 24/7 helpline at 1-877-R-U-ABUSED and its safe house and transitional residential programs remain open. The JBWS counseling, legal advocacy and crisis response team programs for community members continue through remote options.
The Domestic Abuse & Sexual Assault Intervention Services (DASI) has helpline available 24/7 and the DASI safe house is operational. Call 973-875-1211. Legal advocacy assistance is also available, at 862-293-0136.
The Passaic County Women’s Center has a 24-hour hotline, 973-881-1450
Anyone in an emergency can call their local police department by dialing 911. We can all get through this together. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the COVID-19 situation, contact NewBridge Services at (973)316-9333 or (888) 746-9333.