We’re in uncertain times right now. That’s especially true for people who face the threat of domestic violence. It’s not just that we’re practicing social distancing, and that people who are in abusive relationships are having to be around each other more, though that’s certainly a big part of the equation.
There’s a great deal of financial uncertainty right now. When people lose their jobs or are having financial uncertainty, it can contribute to feelings of anger or hurt or a loss of control. And speaking of a loss of control, because we don’t know how long we’ll have to practice social distancing, we don’t have control over our own schedules or when we’ll be able to come back to something approaching normal.
That all adds up to a number of those prone to domestic violence acting out, and in Bexar County, we’re sadly seeing an increase in cases during these recent uncertain times. According to a KENS story that ran last week, domestic violence calls are up 21 percent over this time last year. I’m concerned about this trend, as we get deeper into this period of social distancing, and as more and more people experience financial hardship over time, that this trend will move up rather than down.
The good news is that the courts, and lawyers like me and the rest of the team at the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance are here to help with protective orders, CPS cases, or any other legal matters pertaining to family violence. In Bexar County, applications for protective orders qualify as “essential matters” throughout the state.
Hearings are being held in Bexar County via Zoom, and as of this Monday, the entire civil docket is online, with priority continuing to vest with “essential matters” cases.
And, as this WOAI story noted recently noted, San Antonio’s Battered Women and Children’s Shelter is open. Women needing refuge to escape domestic violence should call (210) 733-8810 to take a first step to safety.
For those needing to make a plan, the National Domestic Violence Hotline website is an excellent resource. This link covers how to create a safety plan, which the organization defines as “a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after you leave.” This link also covers things to be specifically aware of during the current pandemic.
It’s a difficult time we’re all going through, but no one should have to experience domestic violence on top of everything else they’re experiencing right now. If you need out, and there’s a legal component to what you need, we’re here for you.