Staying home during the time of COVID-19 can present some challenges and have a devastating impact for victims of domestic violence.
“As we are encouraging people to remain within their homes, imagine when home is what is most dangerous to an individual,” said Ivon Mesa, Bureau Chief of the Violence and Prevention Division of Miami Dade County.
“When they’re at home with an abuser, they have to not only be concerned with the issues that we are all concerned with right now which is the virus, but they still have to be concerned with the fact that there lives might be in danger within their home,” Mesa said.
Mesa says although there are some limitations during this outbreak, Miami-Dade County is committed to keeping resources like helping victims with injunctions for protection, as well as transitional housing and emergency shelters available for those who are in a bad situation during this time period.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, intimate partner violence affects 10 million people each year in the U.S.
In Florida, 34.2% of women and 24.6% of men experience intimate partner violence.
Community leaders like Mesa are hoping those numbers don’t go up or go unreported during this period of staying indoors.
“Due to the fact that now a lot of families are confined within their homes, that domestic violence might be an issue that could potentially increase and tension could potentially increase, so we want to make sure that they know that we’re here to help them," Mesa said. "Even if it’s a phone call to do safety planning, we’re here to help them."
If you are a victim or survivor of domestic violence and need help, you can call these numbers:
- Florida Domestic Violence 24-Hour Crisis Hotline: 1-800-500-1119
- Miami-Dade County Coordinated Victims Assistance Center: 305-285-5900
- Women In Distress of Broward County: 954-761-1133
More information on resources can also be found here.