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What to Know About Domestic Violence in the Midst of a Global Public Health Crisis

It’s fair to say the vast majority of us could not have anticipated the impact the novel coronavirus was going to have on our lives. But it’s here. It’s now. And there’s no going back.

This new reality has taken its toll on our work lives, our financial lives, and most certainly our family lives. Stress is high. Anxiety is eating away at us. We must be rocks for our children, but inside the fear is real. And for some, that fear is taking on a very real presence in their marriage – be that in the form of physical or emotional abuse.

What to Do if Your Relationship Turns Abusive

For relationships that were already on shaky ground heading into the COVID-19 pandemic, a global crisis can very quickly exacerbate an already strained situation. Take away any opportunities to find an outlet though work or social activities, and it can be a recipe for disaster.

The unfortunate reality is that in times of stress, relationships can very quickly turn abusive. Take precaution now by understanding these important facets of domestic violence.

Trust your gut – If your relationship has taken a sharp turn south, don’t ignore what your intuition is telling you. While it can be tempting to try to minimize what is happening or tell yourself you are overreacting, resist that temptation and seek help immediately. Call 911, leave, seek a safe haven – whether it be at a police station, family or friend’s house. It is better to assume things will get worse.

Understand your abuser’s motive – Abusers seek power and control. During times of quarantine or pandemic, abuse can certainly turn physical, but it also could take on other forms designed to convey power and control, such as:

  • Withholding necessary items, such as cleaning products, sanitizers, and yes, toilet paper.
  • Instilling fear by spreading misinformation.
  • Threating to cancel health insurance or prevent a partner from seeking medical attention.

Make a plan – Many traditional resources designed to assist domestic abuse survivors including shelters and programs are also impacted by the coronavirus. Shelters may be full or they have stopped admitting survivors in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. Travel restrictions may also make escaping a challenge.

During times like these – and always – you have resources. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has advocates available to help 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or via chat. They can offer lifesaving support and provide additional resources for finding safety. The Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence is also a good resource.

Again, if you are ever unsure about what to do or feel at all unsafe, leave or call 911 immediately.

At Vasquez de Lara Law Group, we are also here to help. Contact us today to schedule a 30-minute virtual consultation or ask any questions you may have about family law. Your safety will always remain our top priority.

Author Bio

Vanessa Vasquez de Lara is the founder and owner of Vasquez de Lara Law Group, a Miami family law firm. With over 20 years of experience in family law, she has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including divorces, child support, child custody, alimony, and other family law cases.

Vanessa received her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law in 2002 and is a member of the Florida Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named to the 2015 Super Lawyers Rising Stars and the 2016-2023 Super Lawyers list.

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