The head of Vera House in Syracuse says unemployment and isolation, two byproducts of the coronavirus pandemic, can be stressors that may lead to domestic violence.
“It breaks my heart,” said Randi Bregman of victims during this crisis. She explains that for most people, sheltering in place can seem like protection from the outside world. But it’s just the opposite for those in abusive relationships.
Another misconception according to Bregman is that women are always the victims of domestic violence. That is not the case: Men and people who are gender non-binary are also victims of abusers.
Kelli Owens, the Executive Director of the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, says while COVID-19 is upending our lives, it cannot be used as an excuse for violence.
Both Owens and Bregman say they have yet to see upticks in calls to their hotlines.
They also shared that the state’s courts have provided survivors of domestic violence some relief: That temporary orders of protection, which had expiration dates of March 19 forward, have been extended indefinitely.
A final word of caution from both women: Survivors are urged to visit the website of the Office of Court Administration and print out the extension order, or they can print out the copy of the order at this link.
The New York State Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline is 1-800-942-6906.