March 18, 2020 Blog

COVID-19 and Domestic Violence

COVID-19 has upended daily life for Americans across the country. 

The guidance designed to slow the spread of the deadly disease—stay at home as much as possible, limit contact with people outside your household—and the disruption of all family routines poses great risk for victims of domestic abuse. 

Watch PBS NewsHour on what shelter in place means for those who aren’t safe at home

In a powerful column for the Los Angeles Times, author Rachel Louise Snyder tells the story of a victim of domestic abuse she knew who was able to escape her abusive partner. Snyder wonders how our current reality might have changed her situation:

What if she’d fled to the emergency room and found it so overwhelmed it could not address her needs?…What if her already-violent boyfriend could not attend his Ironman trainings? Or watch sports to decompress? What if there were no reason for her coworkers to wonder why she wasn’t at work? What happens when the demands of social distancing mean the most vulnerable in our society might be distanced right out of existence?

Where can they go in the age of coronavirus?

Who keeps them safe in a world of unmitigated dangers?

In response to the coronavirus, people across the country are reportedly stockpiling guns and ammunition. We know that domestic violence and firearms are a deadly combination: the presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by five times

Domestic violence organizations are doing everything they can to respond to this moment. Learn more about domestic violence and how to seek help here. If you or someone you know is in an unsafe situation, learn more about creating a safety plan. If you’d like to learn more about tools in your state to disarm domestic abusers, visit

If you are in danger, call 911 or call or text the domestic violence hotline: 800-799-7233.

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