Women’s Health: Domestic Violence

Women's Health

The National Domestic Violence Hotline just moved into a new space in South Austin in June 2016. (KXAN / Dani Guerrero)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Domestic abuse rises during the holiday season, and victims of domestic abuse may feel like they are more isolated because of the coronavirus pandemic. But, there are many organizations around the Capital Region ready and able to help victims of domestic abuse like the Unity House in Troy.

Specialty Program Director at Unity House, Sarah McGaughnea, said there has been an increase in calls to Unity House’s Domestic Violence hotline. She wants victims to know Unity House is fully functional, that help is available and that they take the protection of people using their services from the coronavirus seriously.

McGaughnea is worried because domestic violence tends to climb during the holidays. The added stress of the holidays combined with isolation, job/financial insecurity, and/or coronavirus health concerns could escalate an already violent situation to the point of lethality, she said.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Americans are required to stay home to protect
themselves and their communities. However, the home may not be safe for many
families who experience domestic violence, which may include both intimate partners
and children. COVID-19 has caused major economic devastation, disconnected many
from community resources and support systems, and created widespread uncertainty
and panic. Such conditions may stimulate violence in families where it didn’t exist
before and worsen situations in homes where mistreatment and violence has been a
problem.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Intimate Partner Violence and Child Abuse Considerations During COVID-19

Abuse is five times more likely for children living in low socio-economic situations, according to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services. Children living in homes where there is domestic abuse are more likely to also be abused, McGaughnea said. Additional financial stress on parents or caregivers due to the coronavirus can make them even more susceptible.

Domestic violence assistance

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