Story by: Abbey Crain
As schools, restaurants and office buildings close in an attempt to stall the spread of Covid-19, victims of domestic violence are stuck in a seemingly more dangerous place; their home.
Allison Dearing, executive direction of Birmingham’s One Place Family Justice Center, which provides services to victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, said being self-isolated or quarantined can be dangerous for people in abusive homes.
“At a time of social isolation when we’re all seemingly hunkered down in our homes because of this virus, if you are in a relationship or in a home that isn’t safe, then that gives danger a whole new meaning.”
One Place remains open and active for survivors who seek help fleeing, prosecuting, or seeking help from a violent partner or home.
“When people are already in a vulnerable situation, and then a crisis occurs, we do expect that violence to increase,” Dearing said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention one in four women and one in 10 men have experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner. Of the 26,892 violent offenses reported in Alabama 2017 the year for which the most recent data in available, 16 percent were domestic violence incidents, 80 percent of those against women.
Dearing said calls for help to One Place have decreased in the past couple of weeks, since the coronavirus crisis first affected Alabamians, which she said could be due in part to survivors not being able to safely call from inside their homes. One Place is available via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone at 205-453-7261.
Centers such as One Place can also assist people who need to file a protection from abuse order, a civil order in Alabama that protects people from abuse by a current or former intimate partner or certain household members. One Place Family Justice Center in Montgomery is able to process protection from abuse orders online. One Place in Montgomery can be reached by phone at 334-262-7378 and by email at email@example.com.
Survivors who are not yet in mandated quarantine status should seek help now, the CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline said in this TIME story.
Otherwise, until individuals can more safely move about in public, Dearing said survivors in violent households can protect themselves by locking firearms away and hiding knives or other possible household weapons.
She said community members should also take responsibility to keep others safe by checking in daily on people who they think could be in abusive situations. Dearing suggested sharing a code word with a trusted friend or neighbor to know when to call 911.
Crisis Centers in Alabama
Crisis Services of North Alabama
Crisis Line: 256-716-1000, Office: 256-716-4052
Family Services of North Alabama
Crisis Line: 256-878-9159, Office: 256-878-9159
Shoals Crisis Center/ Rape Response, Inc.
Crisis Line: 256-767-1100, Office: 256-765-0025
Victim Services of Cullman, Inc.
Crisis Line: 256-734-6100, Office: 256-775-2600
Crisis Line: 251-947-4393, Office: 251-947-6197
The House of Ruth, Inc.
Crisis Line: 334-793-2232, Office: 334-793-5214
Crisis Line: 251-459-6665
2nd Chance, Inc.
Crisis Line: 256-236-7233, Office: 256-236-7381
Crisis Center of Russell County
Crisis Line: 334-297-4401, Office: 334-297-4435
Rape Counselors of East Alabama, Inc.
Crisis Line: 334-705-0510, Office: 334-741-0707
Turning Point Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Services
Crisis Line: 205-758-0808, Office: 205-758-0808
Crisis Center, Inc.
Rape Response: 205-323-7273, Office: 205-323-7782
Family Sunshine Center
Crisis Line: 334-263-0218, Office: 334-206-2100
Lighthouse Counseling Center, Inc./Standing Together Against Rape STAR
Crisis Line: 334-213-1227, Office: 334-286-5980
SafeHouse of Shelby County, Inc.
Crisis Line: 205-669-7233, Office: 205-669-1877
One Place Family Justice Center Montgomery
Crisis Line: 1-800-650-6522, Office: 334-262-7378
One Place Family Justice Center Birmingham
SABRA Sanctuary Selma
Crisis Line: 1-800-650-6522