Domestic Abuse Amid Shelter in Place Order
Staying home has become essential to curb the spread of the Coronavirus. For many, staying at home amid a pandemic is the safest option. But for some, staying at home poses a greater risk to health and safety.
Domestic violence advocates are reporting a spike in the number of individuals seeking support, guidance, and shelter, as fear of abuse has been compounded by further isolation. Even in families where conflict has never escalated to violence, partners and children may be at a higher risk of abuse because of the enhanced tension, conflict, and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.
On top of this, changes to schedules and routines likely limits access to support networks and limits privacy for individuals who need to contact support lines and advocates. Now, due to Minnesota’s Shelter in Place Order, some may believe they can no longer leave home.
As many are aware, Minnesota’s Governor issued a Shelter in Place Order effective beginning Friday March 27, 2020 at 11: 59 p.m. While Minnesotan’s are directed to stay home, it is very important to know that if you are unsafe at home or in your current residence, you are allowed to leave and you are urged to do so.
The Order states that Minnesotans may leave their home or residence and relocate to a safe alternative residence if any of the following apply:
- Your home or residence is unsafe;
- Your home or residence become unsafe;
- You have suffered domestic abuse;
- You are at risk of suffering domestic abuse; or
- The safety, sanitation or essential operations of your home or residence cannot be maintained.
The Order specially states the following:
Relocation to ensure safety. “Individuals whose homes or residences are unsafe or become unsafe, including individuals who have suffered or are at risk of domestic violence or for whom the safety, sanitation or essential operations of the home or residence cannot be maintained, are allowed and urged to leave their home or residence and relocate to a safe alternative home or residence.” [Emergency Executive Order 20-20 page 3, paragraph 5(a), dated, March 25, 2020.]
The full text of the Order can be found here.
Please remember that you are not alone. If you or someone you know does not feel safe at home, please know that safeguards have been put in place to ensure continued access to legal protections and support during the time of shelter. If you should have any questions regarding your legal options, please do not hesitate to reach out to our office for support.
Resources are available that specifically consider, address, and provide guidance, support, and updates during COVID-19. Please see some of those resources below:
Resources for Victims of Domestic Violence during COVID-19
- Tubman’s Response to COVID-19
- Community Update from Sojourner About COVID-19
- Domestic Violence Resources Still Available
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522. Available 24/7. Can connect callers with local resources and immediate support. Also available through online chat tool.
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673, Provided by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). Available 24/7. Also available through online chat tool.
- Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741, available 24/7 for victims of abuse and any other type of crisis.
- Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-422-4453. Available 24/7 in 170 different languages.
- Office on Women’s Health Helpline: 1-800-994-9662. A resource provided by the US Department of Health & Human Services.