For victims of domestic violence, home is dangerous
The COVID-19 pandemic makes it dangerous for New Jersey residents to leave their homes. We are all advised to “stay safe, stay home.” For victims of domestic violence, home is the most dangerous place of all.
Many adults cannot go to work. Children are not in school. Stores, malls, libraries, gyms, restaurants are closed. Social distancing discourages visits with extended family or friends. Fear, anxiety, frustration and uncertainty are running high. Families are together day and night. In a domestic violence situation, this is the perfect storm to trigger an escalation in abuse.
In an ordinary year, domestic violence agencies in New Jersey serve over 18,000 victims of abuse. As the state-designated lead domestic violence agency for Middlesex County, Women Aware supports 1 out of every 8 of those victims. In these unprecedented times, we are seeing an alarming increase in domestic violence. We see it in the types of calls our hotline workers are receiving and in victims’ desperate need for emergency shelter. Lives are in danger.
It is imperative that victims in Middlesex County know they are not alone. For 40 years, we have been providing comprehensive services for victims of domestic violence and their children. We operate the only 24-hour domestic violence emergency shelter in the second largest county in the state. We continually operate at full capacity, and despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, we remain fully operational and in compliance with CDC and NJ Department of Health guidelines regarding the health and safety of clients and staff.
Women Aware is on the front lines for victims reaching out for help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our hotline – 732.249.4504 (Toll-free 833.249.4504) – provides safety planning, crisis intervention and resources.
Our on-site staff speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Urdu, Hindi, German and Italian. Hundreds of other languages can be translated in the moment. No resident should ever worry that language is a barrier to asking for help.
If it is too dangerous for a victim to reach out directly, a trusted family member or friend can call our hotline (732.249.4504 – Toll-free 833.249.4504). We need to look out for each other during this crisis. Victims need to know they are not alone.
We are here. We can help.