DV and Virtual Mental Health Services

Black woman with long braided hair wearing plaid shirt and sweater sits at a table looking at a notebook and laptop

A year ago, survivors seeking mental health support from LifeWire had several options—one on one therapy, music therapy, and support groups. When the pandemic closed LifeWire’s office, our mental health therapists immediately adapted to working with survivors online or by phone. The shift has come with its challenges and benefits for survivors.

Many survivors who reach out for therapy and support still live in homes that are not safe places. Some survivors have had to postpone therapy because they lacked safe spaces to talk. Therapists brainstorm with survivors about how and where to hold virtual sessions. For survivors, that can mean having a phone call instead of a video chat, sitting in their car instead of their home, or shifting their session to a time when they have the most privacy.

Virtual sessions can make it harder for survivors and therapists to build trust and safety. In-person sessions make it easier for the therapist and survivor to read each other’s facial and body language. They’re also held in a benign location away from the places where violence occurs. Technology can also be an issue, whether it’s accessing stable WI-FI or learning how to use new software.

Despite these challenges, remote therapy sessions and groups have added benefits. Transportation is no longer a barrier to making an appointment. Survivors also don’t have to worry about finding childcare. Most importantly, remote therapy helps survivors mitigate the isolation of coping with domestic violence and COVID-19.

Domestic Violence and Evictions

Paper copy of eviction notice on brown front door with brass door handle

COVID-19 and evictions

Nationally, one in three renters is at risk of eviction because of financial hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even during the best of times, domestic violence survivors, especially BIPOC women, face economic hardship and are vulnerable to eviction. Women who experience recent or ongoing domestic violence are more likely to face eviction than any other group of women. And Black women face evictions at least three times the rate of other survivors.

COVID-related layoffs, reduced hours, sickness, and the loss of affordable child care have made things worse. Survivors who can no longer afford rent are worried about becoming homeless when Washington’s eviction moratorium ends on December 31 {Update: now extended to March 31, 2021}. Thanks to flexible funds from local governments, foundations, and individuals, LifeWire has provided many survivors with rental assistance, reducing their chance of becoming homeless in the coming months. Even so, too many survivors will face eviction in 2021.

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DV and its impact on transgender survivors

Black trans woman with curly red hair wearing a pink sweater looks in a mirror and dries her tears with a tissue.

Every person, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, deserves to feel safe, respected, and loved in an intimate relationship

Transgender people are at high risk for abuse, with as many as 50% experiencing intimate partner violence at some point in their life. Like other survivors, they may be subject to emotional, economic, physical, and sexual abuse from their partners. Transgender survivors also face distinct abuse tactics and challenges accessing support.

Continue reading “DV and its impact on transgender survivors”

October is Domestic Violence Action Month

Over the last three decades, we have made significant progress in bringing the issue of domestic violence out of the shadows and working towards a society where everyone is free from abuse. But the COVID-19 pandemic has put many people experiencing domestic violence at greater risk than ever before. Stay-home orders and economic stresses have increased vulnerability and isolation for survivors, resulting in increased frequency and severity of abuse. At LifeWire we are seeing: Continue reading “October is Domestic Violence Action Month”

Not everyone can safely make a call

Woman in kitchen looking down and typing on her phone


Our helpline is staffed 24/7, but not everyone can safely make the call.

“Beth” was worried about her safety. Washington’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order reduced her chance of catching or spreading COVID-19, but it left her vulnerable to other dangers.

Her husband lost hours at work, which meant a smaller paycheck and more time trapped at home with him. While he never hurt her physically, the emotional abuse grew by the day, scaring Beth and their young daughter.

In her brief moments alone, Beth reached out to LifeWire via email. Working with an advocate only through email, Beth put together a safety plan and came up with ways to keep her and her daughter safer.

Become a lifeline for survivors like Beth now when they need it most and give today.