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Domestic violence calls increase as people shelter in place during COVID-19 outbreak

Domestic violence shelters say they are being swamped with calls as many people are asked to stay at home to avoid exposure to COVID-19.

During this time, as family are sequestered inside their homes, there is a dark side. 

Domestic violence shelters are seeing a dramatic increase in calls for help as people shelter in place to avoid COVID-19 exposure. 

Staying at home can be a horrible situation for domestic violence victims. 

Jessica Garza is a survivor who fled an abusive husband, who beat her so bad she lost her unborn baby. 

“Being there with your abuser, I can’t imagine what it’s like for them right now because me, I just needed to leave, “ said Garza.

Domestic violence shelters, like The Family Place, say they are seeing a big increase in calls for help. 

”This is going to be similar to what happens during the holiday when everyone is together and a lot of frustration,” said Paige Flink, The Family Place CEO.

Some shelters have run out of room and are looking to put victims in hotel rooms and other places, because of social distancing rules.  

“What has also happened is because some shelters don’t have private bedrooms, they are having to isolate people and spread them apart, which has reduced how many people they can take in,” said Flink.

Flink says they are getting extremely violent calls that are COVID-19 related.

“People being locked in rooms, being shot through the doors, prevented from leaving, having to stay because he’s afraid she will go out and get it. Crazy stuff,” said Flink. 

Garza was able to go to her sister’s for help.

She says women should not hesitate to find a safe place to go.

"Let that shelter be something else. In this new norm we find ourselves in, let the new shelter be a friend's home, a hotel room, anything,” said Garza.

The Family Place says it will not turn away someone in a lethal situation. The shelter will find a place.

The Family Places says it's making sure the people coming in have no symptoms of the virus, and the shelter is being deep cleaned frequently to keep everyone safe. 

If you need help, please call the one of the following numbers: 

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233.
  • The Family Place Crisis Hotline: 214-941-1991
  • Genesis Women’s Shelter: 214-946-4357
  • Hope’s Door: 972-422-2911
  • Safe Haven of Fort Worth: 877-701-7233

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