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:
- Record number of requests for assistance through our website
- Significant increase in the number of requests for protection orders
- More serious injuries
- More lethality indicators, including threats with firearms and strangulation
- Increase in abuse that children witness at home
- Increase in the number of survivors re-engaging with us due to renewed safety concerns
And there are community indicators as well, including yesterday’s announcement that there have already been 13 domestic homicides in King County this year, twice as many as in a typical year. So, what can you do?
Learn about Domestic Violence
Everyone has a role to play in creating healthy, safe, and vibrant communities. Be a source of information about domestic and dating violence. Start with our website to learn facts about domestic violence and why people stay. You can also follow us on social media.
Practice healthy relationship skills
There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship, but healthy relationships are based on mutual respect, trust, open communication, equality, support, and safety. Take time to talk with the people you love about how you want to be treated and how you will treat them. If you need help starting the conversation, download “How’s Your Relationship?” cards from Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV).
If you think someone close to you is experiencing abuse, the most important thing you can do is to listen and withhold judgment. Survivors may not be ready to share everything with you, so connect in ways that are comfortable for them. If you don’t know what to say, we’ve put together a list of helpful things you can say and ask and WSCADV has a downloadable Friends and Family Guide on how to help someone in an abusive relationship. Most of all – stay in touch. Isolation is one of the most powerful tools abusive partners have to control survivors.