News Flash

Health - Public Health News

Posted on: May 7, 2020

Everyone Deserves Safety and Support

Safety Alert: Computer use can be monitored. If you are afraid your internet usage might be monitored by a domestic partner, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224.

The situation at home

We know things are stressful right now. With the extension of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order until at least May 31st, some of us may be thinking about how we will pay rent, buy groceries, or when we’ll be able to go back to work. Staying home is frustrating and difficult for everyone. Some households will experience intense stress due to income and job loss, disrupted routines, and uncertainty about the future. For others, staying home may even be dangerous. Physical and social isolation can make you more at risk of family violence and can limit opportunities for help.  Financial and food insecurity can increase stress, anxiety, and other mental health concerns that could lead to violence at home. If you are concerned about the safety or well being of a friend, family member, neighbor or colleague, please check on them regularly and offer support.

What to do if home is unsafe

Every relationship is different, and domestic violence presents itself differently too. Despite the range of ways that domestic abuse can present itself, one thing is always true: abuse is about power and control of one partner over another. In most abusive relationships, the abusive partner does many different things to have more power and control over their partner. Information about the behaviors of an abusive partner can be found at The National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Violence isn’t always black eyes or bruises. It can also be emotional, and emotional abuse is harder to pinpoint. It is important to look for patterns of behaviors that could indicate abuse- patterns that involve criticism, shame and blame, threats and/or control.  More information is available from the Office on Women’s Health

If your home is unsafe, know that you are not alone and help is available.  Find support and connection by staying in touch with loved ones. Even in the current COVID-19 world, there are resources and help available. Some local supports are not available for office visits, but they are continuing to offer services over the phone. If it is challenging to find alone time to make a private call, text message support is also an option.  The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year support for anyone affected by abuse. Contact them at (800) 799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522. 

What to do if you’re concerned about a loved one

If you are concerned about a friend, loved one, or neighbor, reach out. Try to connect, offer support, and listen. If you think your friend or neighbor might be at risk, or suspect an unhealthy power dynamic in the home, you can be a lifeline for them right now. Here are some things you can do to support:

  • Reach out and connect via phone, text, email, or by sending a letter.
  • Listen, and be non-judgmental.
  • Acknowledge the situation they’re in is scary and difficult.
  • Let them know you believe them and the abuse is not their fault. 
  • Encourage them to engage with friends and family in activities outside the relationship.
  • Empower them to make their own decisions and be respectful of those decisions. 
  • Remember that leaving an abuser can be a dangerous time for a victim-survivor.

More information on how you can help a friend or family member is available from the National Domestic Violence Hotline. 

What Resources are Available?

Locally, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services (DVSAS) offers advocacy and housing services to survivors during this time. Call the 24-hour helpline at 360-715-1563 to speak with an advocate. Additional resources for violence prevention are located on www.WhatcomCOVID.com. Help and assistance for individuals and families who feel unsafe in their homes is available.

Below are some local and national resources for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors:

  • Brigid Collins Family Support Center offers individualized support and resources to families in Whatcom and Skagit counties. To speak to staff in the Whatcom County office call 360-734-4616.
  • Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services offers support to adults experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault and sexual exploitation. To speak to staff call the 24-hour phone hotline at 360-715-1563.
  • Lummi Victims of Crime offers a variety of support for adults and adolescents who have been affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse and other violent crimes. To speak to staff call the 24-hour phone hotline at (360) 312-2015.
  • If at any time you are questioning the safety of adults or children, Adult Protective Services and Child Protective Services may be the appropriate and necessary option.

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline offers support through the chat feature on the website or over the phone at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

  • API Chaya specializes in supporting survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking with people from or affiliated with Asian, Pacific Islander, and Middle Eastern communities.


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