SAN DIEGO — With many residents confined by stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the San Diego County District Attorney's Office said today that resources remain available for domestic violence victims, who may be at increased risk while self-quarantined.
“It can also be a dangerous time for our victims. That isolation can be a trigger where normally children are going to school, that is no longer available. The risk is even higher because of additional stressors of losing a job, having too much contact being home, because you don’t have the respite of being away at work,” said District Attorney Summer Stephan.
The District Attorney's Office has launched two websites aimed at both potential victims and abusers, with information in English and Spanish regarding free local services.
For potential victims or witnesses of domestic violence, https://www.preventdv1.org/ features a list of local domestic violence shelters, restraining order assistance, hotlines and an anonymous quiz created for determining one's risk for domestic violence.
A second site, https://www.preventdv2.org/, provides "information on how to stop the cycle of abuse," according to the District Attorney's Office, including telltale signs of abusive behavior and hotlines to speak with domestic violence advocates and professionals.
The District Attorney's Office also reminded residents that emergency restraining orders may still be obtained despite the San Diego Superior Court's closure, and that shelters funded by the governor's Office of Emergency Services are considered essential services and are still operating.
"We acknowledge the necessity of Gov. (Gavin) Newsom's order, but want to be sure we provide a lifeline to those who may be at increased risk of violence at the hands of an intimate partner," said Stephan.
"Additional stressors such as losing a job and kids at home due to school closures can be triggers for domestic violence. We want people who are seeing warning signs of abuse or who are being abused to know that we stand ready to help them and that they shouldn't suffer in silence," Stephan said.
Some red flags of abuse detailed by the District Attorney's Office include:
-- Controlling and jealous behaviors;
-- threats to harm others, including children or pet;
-- destruction of property;
-- put-downs or telling others that nothing they do is right;
-- forced sex (rape);
-- withholding access to money or medical care;
-- shaming or embarrassing others;
-- threatening that if someone gets coronavirus symptoms, they will be kicked out
-- forcing others to consume drugs or alcohol;
-- threatening to have someone deported.
“We did not forget about our victims during this pandemic,” said Stephan.