As soon as COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020, the United States and most countries throughout the world took action to “flatten the curve” by restricting gatherings of up to 10 people at any given place and issuing “stay at home” orders to ensure people don’t leave their homes (unless to perform essential tasks such as grocery shopping and picking up medicine from a pharmacy). Unfortunately, these orders have resulted in many businesses closing their doors and millions of people losing their jobs.
Being forced to stay home, as well as dealing with the stress of unemployment and figuring out the finances to stay afloat and support the family are all contributing factors to domestic violence. As expected, there has been a spike in domestic abuse incidents in Virginia and across the country. Law enforcement officials and domestic violence advocates expect the trend to continue in the coming months.
According to WHO, the risk of domestic violence significantly increases during times of crises, such as epidemics, natural disasters, and wars. In an Axios article, the local police in Jingzhou (China) reported that domestic violence cases had tripled in February 2020 when comparing these figures to last year’s numbers.
Since everyone is required to stay home for the next month or so, families are home all day long. Abuse victims will find more difficulty reaching out to friends, family, and even domestic violence hotlines since their abusers maintain the power and control of what goes on in the house, including the finances. Even the fear of contracting COVID-19 is preventing them from obtaining immediate medical attention after a violent incident and the fear of giving the disease to their loved ones increases the sense of isolation and loneliness.
Furthermore, children will be more exposed to acts of domestic violence that might’ve happened while they’re in school. They may also become victims of abuse since there are no teachers and friends around to either provide help or at least recognize the warning signs.
The following are resources of domestic violence victims in Virginia:
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached by telephone at 1-800-787-3224 or 24/7 online chat
- Virginia’s Family Violence and Sexual Assault hotline by calling 1-800-838-8238
- Local Departments of Social Services
- Shelters and programs can be accessed through the Action Alliance Sexual & Domestic Violence Member Agencies in Virginia.
How The Law Office of Ann Thayer, PLLC Can Help
While individuals who are accused of domestic abuse reach out to a lawyer, victims may also benefit from seeking legal representation. Our Fairfax domestic violence victims attorney at our firm can help you obtain a protective order, help you navigate the complexities of the legal system, protect your and your children’s rights, and assist you in locating shelter and protection.
If you or a loved one is a victim of domestic abuse in Fairfax or the surrounding area, contact The Law Office of Ann Thayer, PLLC today at (703) 940-0001 and request a free consultation. We are still open to help you and available by phone or pre-scheduled video conferencing.