October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This month provides an opportunity to remember victims of domestic violence, raise awareness of what domestic violence is, how to recognize it, and what we can all do to collectively prevent it.
Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive behavior used by one person to gain power and control over another in an intimate or familial relationship. In Pennsylvania alone, 112 victims died from domestic violence incidents last year. Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of gender, socio-economic status, race, or sexual orientation.
Unfortunately, during this unprecedented time, recommendations necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 also lead to those experiencing domestic violence facing even more anxiety and new challenges to navigate. Victims and survivors are spending more time in close proximity with their abusers, increasing the risk to their safety and well-being during an already stressful time. If you or someone you know is unsafe, resources are available.
Help is Available
The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) provides domestic violence services 24-7 via their find help page and the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800) 799-7233 or by texting LOVEIS to 22522. Legal help is available from PCADV at pasafelaw.org.
The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) provides sexual assault crisis services. Those resources can be found at www.pcar.org or at 1-888-772-7227 for a 24-hour hotline to be connected to a local sexual assault center. Help for sexual assault survivors is also available from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC).
Suspected child abuse or neglect can be reported 24/7 to DHS’ ChildLine available at 1-800-932-0313.