Oregonians have been urged to “Stay Home, Stay Safe” as the state responds to the coronavirus pandemic. But for people affected by domestic violence, home is anything but safe.
Reports out of China suggest at least one region saw domestic violence spike after residents were locked down.
And advocates say they are already witnessing a similar trend in Oregon.
“We’re getting an increase in calls,” said Alexxis Robinson-Woods, who directs programs and services at Bradley Angle, a Portland-based service provider for domestic violence survivors.
“A lot of survivors are asking for help with their children, because those resources are drying up,” with abusers and children both staying home – and opportunities to escape during the day drying up, Robinson-Woods said.
Compounding the challenges that people face at home, agencies that seek to help people facing domestic violence are also navigating a new world of work-from-home.
Bradley Angle employees are learning to work remotely, in a field where one-on-one contact with clients has always been at the core of the nonprofit’s efforts. Its food bank now involves direct food deliveries. And staff do not know how many residents of its short-term shelter will have to stay longer than the typical three month stay.
Robinson-Woods said the steps that domestic violence survivors are usually advised to take are as important as ever now: Get backup identification, a personal bank account, a cell phone, and a place to stay.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline continues to take calls and text messages at 800-799-7233.