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More than 80 million Americans are ordered to stay at home. Here’s what you need to know about the “shelter-in-place” order and its impact on domestic violence.

“Shelter-in-place” is taking social distancing into full effect. While the states essentially can not prohibit residents to leave the house, the options for socializing are restricted. In America, “shelter-in-place” means that residents can continue to perform “essential” duties during the emergency.

Americans can still buy groceries, go for a run, obtain medicine in the pharmacy, order takeout from the restaurant but gatherings are not allowed. 

The downside 

While the isolation measures are designed to curb the spread, there is another social phenomenon on the rise: domestic violence. According to the experts, abusers may take advantage of the restrictions of movement to control their spouse and children and restrict access to food, sanitary supplies and spread disinformation. 

According to the memo issued by the National Domestic Violence Hotline Staying Safe During COVID-19 these are some examples of how COVID-19 could impact intimate partner violence survivors:

1. Abusive partners may withhold necessary items, such as hand sanitizer or disinfectants.

2. Abusive partners may share misinformation about the pandemic to control or frighten survivors, or to prevent them from seeking appropriate medical attention if they have symptoms.

3. Abusive partners may withhold insurance cards, threaten to cancel insurance, or prevent survivors from seeking medical attention if they need it.

4. Programs that serve survivors may be significantly impacted –- shelters may be full or may even stop intakes altogether. Survivors may also fear entering shelter because of being in close quarters with groups of people.

5. Survivors who are older or have chronic heart or lung conditions may be at increased risk in public places where they would typically get support, like shelters, counseling centers, or courthouses.

6. Travel restrictions may impact a survivor’s escape or safety plan – it may not be safe for them to use public transportation or to fly.

7. An abusive partner may feel more justified and escalate their isolation tactics.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is urging victims and survivors to get in touch. 

When will the “Stay-at-Home” order be lifted?

In a late Sunday tweet, Trump suggested that he is looking at ending restrictions against coronavirus. 

“We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself,” Trump said. It looks like the president is again prioritizing the economy, his main re-election ticket.

Some of the messages calling for the end of 15 days “Stay at home” order include:

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Ksenija Pavlovic McAteer

Ksenija Pavlovic is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Pavlovic Today, The Chief White House Correspondent. Pavlovic was a Teaching Fellow and Doctoral Fellow in the Political Science department...

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