JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — For survivors of domestic violence, COVID-19 isn’t the only threat to health and safety. Staying home may be more dangerous to them than the virus.
“They’re at home with the abuser who has increased access, while they have decreased access to help,” said Dr. Gail Patin, Hubbard House CEO.
As we quarantine, women and children are cooped up with their abusers with less access to help.
“Oftentimes we find the victims, when they go to work they call for help, or ask their friends for help, or they might just step outside to make a telephone call,” Patin said. “Now all of that is off the table.”
These new hurdles to escape an abuser is something Patin has never seen in her career.
“Sometimes a telephone call may be risky because they can’t be alone and away from the abuser,” Patin said.
For those experiencing domestic violence, Patin suggests making social distancing an excuse to distance yourself from the abuser in the home. If you have access to electronics, log onto hubbardhouse.org to reach out for help or make a safety plan.
“If you choose to go on the computer, please erase your history,” Patin said. “The abuser can go back and look at that.”
RELATED: Jacksonville could condemn buildings, shut off utilities if businesses don’t let employees work from home
COVID-19 is also affecting the Hubbard House internally. Just like all of us, the facility is running out of masks, gloves and Clorox wipes. The organization is concerned about keeping supplies stocked up for the survivors living in their facilities.
“When we go to the stores to buy eggs, to buy milk, we are limited just like a regular household is," Patin said. "Often times, one gallon of milk. One gallon of milk is not going to work for a facility as big as ours.”
The Hubbard House is trying to work with local grocers, but still needs your help. For those who have access to cleaning supplies or food for the 150 women and children, they are asking for your donations.
“I’d like survivors to know they are not alone,” Patin said. “We are here for them. We are a phone call away and we will do what we need to do to get them help.”
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can call the Hubbard House 24-hour hotline at 904-354-3114—or in an emergency, call 911.
For those seeking legal action, restraining orders are one of the few court functions still open at this time.