By Rachel Puryear, Attorney at Law
While you are sheltering in place, dear readers, I sincerely hope that you are all safe in your homes. Some in your community, however, are in more danger than ever – not only because of Covid, but because they must stay at home, and they have domestic violence problems in their home.
Domestic violence can include abuse that is physical (like hitting, pushing), psychological (like manipulation, belittling, intimidation), sexual (like assaults), and financial (like denying the other partner any say in the family finances, or interfering with the other’s job). Women, men, and children can all be victims or perpetrators of violence; although women and children make up most people who are injured by violence, and traditional attitudes about gender roles, as well as overall economic and cultural inequities, certainly influence violence against women and children. Elderly people are also commonly victims of abuse, due to their greater vulnerability. Children with disabilities and special needs are at a much higher risk for being abused than other children. Domestic violence can be mutual between two people, or be primarily perpetrated by one person against another. Domestic violence patterns can range from infrequent, mild incidents to frequent incidents where someone is being seriously hurt (or is at high risk of injury or death).
Many batterers are capable of improving their behavior, if they are willing to get help and commit to changing for the better. Some batterers have anger management problems and genuinely regret their abusive behavior, and want to improve themselves; while others have deep-seated personality disorders, believe that they are entitled to hurt others, and generally lack remorse (the former have a much better chance of ever changing than the latter). Domestic violence is a problem for families of all socioeconomic classes, ethnic backgrounds, walks of life, and is present in same-sex relationships as well as opposite-sex ones.
If you or someone you know is getting hurt at home, and they want help, please pass along the following domestic violence help hotlines:
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 24/7, confidential and free: 1-800-799-7233 and through chat.
- The National Sexual Assault Hotline is 24/7, confidential and free: 800.656.HOPE (4673) and through chat.
- National Parent Helpline Monday -Friday 12pm-9am CT emotional support and advocacy for parents: 1-855-2736.
If you or someone you know has hurt someone, or you are afraid you/they might do so, please get help/urge them to get help, and refer them to the following link for resources to get help for batterers:
If you or someone else is actively being hurt and needs emergency help, call 911. However, NEVER try to intervene in a domestic violence situation without first having appropriate training – serious harm can easily happen this way. Intervention which is well-meaning but poorly executed can quickly escalate a situation rather than help.
As always, dear readers, be safe and healthy out there. Please help keep everyone safe by observing official recommendations for social distancing, sheltering in place, covering your face in public, and practicing proper hygiene. Please also help others where you can in ways big and small, and ask for help if you need it. We will all get through this together. Thank you for reading, and for following me. I hope you enjoyed this, and learned something valuable.
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Please note that the above is offered for educational purposes only. The information presented may not take into account every exception, variation, or complication which could apply to someone’s legal matters. Accordingly, nothing in this post or blog is ever intended as, nor should be construed by or relied upon by anyone, as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney who can give you assistance specific to your needs.