News from Representative Luria

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Dear Friend,

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Coastal Virginians are advised to stay home and avoid public spaces. However, for many survivors of domestic violence, staying home is not the safest option and can place additional strains on survivors. Below, are resources and guidance from the National Domestic Violence Hotline that are designed to help survivors during this extraordinarily difficult time.

 

How COVID-19 can uniquely impact intimate partner violence survivors:

  • Abusive partners may withhold necessary items, such as hand sanitizer or disinfectants.
  • Abusive partners may share misinformation about the pandemic to control or frighten survivors, or to prevent them from seeking appropriate medical attention.
  • Abusive partners may withhold insurance cards, threaten to cancel insurance, or prevent survivors from seeking medical attention if they need it.
  • Programs that serve survivors may be significantly impacted – shelters may be full or may even stop intakes altogether. Survivors may also fear entering a shelter because of being in close quarters with groups of people.
  • Survivors who are older or have chronic heart or lung conditions may be at increased risk in public places where they would typically get support, like shelters, counseling centers, or courthouses.
  • Travel restrictions may impact a survivor’s escape or safety plan – it may not be safe for them to use public transportation or to fly.
  • An abusive partner may feel more justified and escalate their isolation tactics.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, below are some suggestions to make this uncertain time feel safer.

Create a safety plan

A safety plan is a personal, practical plan that includes how to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after leaving the relationship. You can learn more about safety plans here, and you can find an interactive guide to safety planning here. Due to limited shelter capacity caused by COVID-19, consider alternatives such as staying with family or friends, staying in motels, or sleeping in your vehicle. Be extra mindful of good hygiene practices if you’re leaving. You can learn about hygiene practices by clicking here.

Practice self-care

Taking time for your health and wellness can make a big difference in how you feel. Self-care is about taking care of yourself in ways that feel best to you and focusing on your health and well-being. To learn more about practicing self-care, see here.

Reach out for help

Even if you are isolated, try to maintain social connections online or over the phone, if it is safe to do so, and try to stick to your daily routines as much as possible.

For any victims and survivors who need support, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7. Call 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 for TTY, or if you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.

Please know that during this trying time, my team and I stand ready to serve our community. For helpful resources to help you and your family navigate through this public health emergency, please see here. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to our offices via the numbers below.

Sincerely,

 

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