Information for Survivors on Shelter Operation During COVID-19 Pandemic

 

KCADV Regional Domestic Violence Shelter Programs are OPEN to each survivor that reaches out for help.                                     .

 Hotlines are accessible 24 hours every day of the week.

However, some services are being provided through alternative arrangements, for example: 

  • Virtual Services. Advocates are responding to requests for information and referrals using digital means such as FaceTime, Zoom, email, text and instant messenger. Even support groups can be conducted virtually.
  • Emergency Shelter.  Some programs have changed how they provide shelter services, and/or moved to using hotel rooms to reduce the communal interactions that can happen in shelter. 
  • Access to Courts. Although courts in Kentucky are closed to all but the most urgent cases, survivors can still apply for emergency protection and judges are still conducting protective order hearings, either in person or through virtual platforms. Survivors have the right for a victim advocate to be present at the hearing with them, either in person or virtually. 
  • Transportation. This can include using private agencies such as Uber or Lyft to get survivors to their medical appointments.
  • Assistance with Addressing Economic Needs. Because survivors may be losing sources of income, they may risk eviction or other hardships. Program staff are available to help you navigate the policy changes in our state that are designed to address economic need. 

Contact your local shelter to find out more: www.kcadv.org/programs.

 

Increased Risk Factors for Domestic Violence during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Domestic violence is a pattern of power and control, not an individual act of physical violence. However, partners who use violence do take advantage of stressful situations such as a pandemic to gain more control:

  • Isolation is a primary tactic used by perpetrators to control survivors, and this is exacerbated under self-isolation and quarantine. Many survivors cannot use the phone or computer to reach out for help when sheltering in place with an abusive partner.
  • Children that cannot attend school or daycare have more exposure to witnessing domestic violence. The effects of exposure to domestic violence on children can include immediate effects in the short term that result from the abuser’s violence, on-going effects in childhood and adolescence, as well as long-term effects on adult life. 
  • Survivors are losing work, child support and savings that could place them in financial hardship including risk of eviction. In many cases, the batterer prohibits the survivor from accessing bank accounts and other sources of funding as an intentional tactic to ensure that they cannot leave.
  • The FBI has reported a spike in gun purchases in March, apparently in response to spreading concerns about the coronavirus outbreak. Survivors who have to spend even more time isolated at home with abusive partners who own guns are at a much greater risk of being killed. Survivors may need shelter and/or help obtaining protective orders to reduce risk of harm for themselves and their children.

 

Strategies for Reaching Out  

  • Call the shelter hotline or have a friend or a relative call for you if you are unable to.
  • Send an email providing a timeframe that is safe to email you. 
  • Reach out to the domestic violence program via social media, such as Facebook Messenger or Instagram.
  • Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.  If you decide you want to talk to someone at a local shelter program, the National DV Hotline staff can connect you upon request.  

Download this information here.

Tips for helping a friend experiencing domestic violence during Covid-19 available here.