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Some Domestic Violence Shelters Are Full, But Hotlines Quiet, During Coronavirus

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State order to stay home may put domestic violence victims at risk. (Sydney Sims via Unsplash)
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The state and Los Angeles County’s “Safer At Home” order is intended to protect residents from the coronavirus. But for domestic violence victims, home may not be safe.

Some L.A. domestic violence shelters say their shelters have been full, but their crisis hotlines are quiet, since the coronavirus pandemic hit.

TRAPPED VICTIMS?

Shelters are usually temporary for victims until they can be placed into more permanent housing — away from their abuser.

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But the coronavirus crisis has slowed down the flow of housing so victims are staying longer at shelters. That means there may not be room for new victims seeking refuge.

At the same time, shelters say fewer people are calling their crisis hotlines — but they don't think that's because domestic violence has decreased.

Elizabeth Sahagun oversees YWCA Glendale’s domestic violence services and emergency shelters. She thinks the decrease in phone calls is because many victims are trapped at home with abusers since the order to stay home went into effect.

“So they are not able to run out for a minute to the store or go for a walk and be able to reach out to us or make a call,” Sahagun said.

MAKE A SAFETY PLAN

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Sahagun and other shelters recommend making a safety plan during this public health crisis, which should include a friend or family member who can call for help on your behalf, if needed.

NEED HELP?

  • L.A. County's Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 978-3600
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-SAFE (7233); (800) 787-3224 (TTY); www.thehotline.org
  • You can find LAPD's list of local DV shelters here.
  • You can find domestic violence legal services here.

MORE ON CORONAVIRUS:


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