Health officials are warning that victims of domestic abuse, including children and the elderly, may be at increased risk during self-quarantine related to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
Children are not in school, and families are being asked to either self-quarantine or remain at home to keep from catching the virus, said the Westchester County District Attorney's Office.
"For victims of domestic abuse, including intimate partner abuse, child or elder abuse, this may be a particularly vulnerable time," the office said.
To help, the office is notifying victims and potential victims that help is available, even during these times of crisis.
"Abuse is all about power and control and with people forced to spend more hours together in limited spaces tension can be exacerbated," the office said. "An abuser may feel more justified in escalating their tactics to isolate their victims, a real concern to anyone who is at risk of being victimized and to all those affected by the health crisis."
Despite the coronavirus outbreak, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division said they are continuing to serve those who may be a victim of domestic violence, elder abuse, human trafficking, and child abuse.
If anyone believes they are a victim or becoming a victim, they should call 911 or call the office's Special Prosecutions Division at 914-995-3000.
Some important steps victims can take if you afraid of experiencing domestic violence:
- Have a safety plan. The DA's staff is available to help.
- Make sure friends and family know where you are.
- It’s important to have a way to avoid a potentially violent encounter by retreating to a safe space in your home.
- Remember, when danger escalates, it is always important to have an escape plan.
- Always remember: call 911!
In addition to the District Attorney’s Office, other support providers are available to help:
- Hope’s Door 1-888-438-8700 (24-hour hotline)
- My Sister’s Place 1-800-298-7233 (24-hour hotline)
- The Loft/LGBTQ Community Services Center 914-948-2932
- Legal Services of the Hudson Valley 914-949-1305
- Pace Women’s Justice Center 914-287-0739
- Victim’s Assistance Services of Westchester, Inc. 914-345-9111
- Westchester County Office for Women: 914-995-5972 English; 914-995-6581 Spanish.
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