Wake County residents worried stay-at-home order puts domestic violence victims in danger

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — As Wake County residents prepare to stay-at-home during the COVID-19 pandemic, some are worried it’s putting domestic violence victims in danger.

“We know that domestic violence, one hallmark of those relationships is isolation and this is a very isolating time,” said Tasha Sullivan, Senior Director of Domestic Violence Services at InterAct of Wake County. “We’re needing to do this for public health reasons, but home isn’t always a safe place.”

InterAct of Wake County is a non-profit that provides services to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. The 24/7 crisis hotline typically gets between 20-30 calls a day. But since COVID-19 restrictions started, Sullivan says calls are down.

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“We saw days where we only had 10 or so,” she explained. “Now we are getting back up closer to 20 calls a day.”

Sullivan tells CBS 17 part of the reason is that victims are quarantined with their abuser and may not have a moment alone or anywhere to escape and seek help. About half of the calls they are getting mention COVID-19. In some cases, Sullivan says abusive partners are threatening to throw them out of the house if they get the virus.

She added, “And family who may have been willing to let them live with them in the past, are now hesitating.”

While most walk-in services at InterAct are suspended, Sullivan says victims and survivors can still get help. You can connect with counselors by calling the crisis hotline at 919-828-7740 or emailing info@interactofwake.org.

Counselors can connect you with lawyers, help you find emergency shelter and walk you through applying for a domestic violence protective order.

“If a judge does grant that, it has the potential to remove the abuser from the home,” Sullivan explained. “Courts consider that an essential offering. So so even though some court processes have changed, they still are allowing victims to file for that.”

Sullivan shared these words of hope for victims and survivors, “We just want them to know they’re not alone. We know this is hard and we don’t know what it’s going to look like for the foreseeable future, but that we are here for them in anyway possible.”

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