Under normal circumstances, victims reach out to domestic violence shelters, families, or co-workers when their abuser isn’t home, according to shelter directors around the country. But under a stay-at-home order, they may never have a chance to place a call because their abuser is always present.
“Abusers thrive off isolation. With the pandemic, it is a perfect storm for domestic violence,” said Kristin Shrimplin, president of Women Helping Women, which provides domestic violence services in greater Cincinnati. “Survivors are telling us that it is not safe for them to talk.”
Organizations that run hotlines reported varying changes in calls to NBC News. A majority of groups saw shorter call durations after shelter-in-place orders went into effect. Some saw call volume and website traffic rise. Others experienced the opposite. One group in Texas saw both its highest and lowest daily call volumes ever in the same month.