The global pandemic is changing life as we know it right before our eyes. The measures put into place to keep the virus from spreading and help keep the public stay safe - including social distancing and stay-at-home orders - have put many people in danger, especially victims of domestic violence and abuse. Throughout this pandemic, it’s important to not only keep ourselves safe, but to raise awareness for those who are most vulnerable during this time of crisis.
According to NBC News, law enforcement officials in cities across the United States saw an increase in reports of domestic violence in March. The spike in reports came just as nationwide safety precautions were put in place, including mandatory lockdowns and closures of thousands organizations and businesses.
The stay-at-home quarantines are forcing many children and families to be trapped indoors with their abusers, isolated from resources they might otherwise have access to during a time of crisis. Daycare centers, after-school activities, religious groups, and community programs are also closing or are unavailable to at-risk individuals and families who rely heavily on these services to report abuse. Non-profit organizations and domestic violence shelters are also struggling to stay open amid the growing demand for resources.
The pandemic is also causing millions of people to lose their jobs. The added financial stress to a family or relationship with a history of domestic violence can also lead to an increase in domestic violence or child abuse and neglect cases.
Federal and state courthouses across the country are also closing due to the coronavirus. While many current jury trials are suspended, shutting down these systems can prevent abuse victims and survivors from seeking the legal reparations they deserve. Nationwide victim compensation funds for survivors of institutional abuse cases, are also being put on hold as institutions claim bankruptcy or financial strain.
While many of us are struggling during this incredibly difficult time, we must stand together to support those who are most vulnerable to abuse and neglect. A New Leaf is currently accepting donations of all kinds, including financial gifts, non-perishable food items, water bottles, and other essentials, such as diapers and toilet paper. The safety and economic implications of the pandemic make it a crucial time to donate to those in need, lend a helping hand where possible, and support victims and survivors of abuse.