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Apr 23

Survivors of domestic violence can leave their homes for safety reasons during Colorado’s safer-at-home policy

Survivors of domestic violence can leave their homes in order to call, text or chat for support, or to find temporary safe housing.

“The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority, and everyone who needs to leave their home to stay safe can and should do so. That may mean you leave to make a phone call or find temporary housing,” says Michelle Barnes, executive director of the Colorado Department of Human Services. “We know that people who perpetrate violence in their relationship may use misinformation and lies to control their partners and create fear. It is acceptable to leave your home — and to take any dependents like children or parents with you — in order to ask for help or escape violence.”

“Throughout the COVID19 response, essential services are available,” Barnes says. “That includes crisis intervention, advocacy, financial assistance and emergency shelter. Domestic violence service providers are using physical distancing practices to reduce the spread of coronavirus.”

Call if you need a safe place to stay, counseling or support

  • During an emergency situation, survivors should call 911.
  • Local domestic violence shelters are operating, and crisis lines continue to offer confidential 24-hour support. Chat online or email if you can’t call from home:
  • Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence (SPAN) 24-hour crisis hotline: 303-444-2424 email: hotline@safehousealliance.org
  • Safe Shelter of St. Vrain Valley 24/7 Crisis Line: 303-772-4422 online: www.safeshelterofstvrain.org/contact-us/
  • Moving to End Sexual Assault (MESA) hotline: 303-443-7300 email: info@movingtoendsexualassault.org
  • CU Boulder Office of Victim Assistance: 303-492-8855; email: assist@colorado.edu
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799- SAFE (7233); chat: www.thehotline.org/help/ Support is available 24/7 in more than 200 languages. Survivors of domestic violence who cannot make a phone call can text loveis (capitalization does not matter) to 22522 or visit thehotline.org to chat with an advocate.

Isolation is a primary tool used by abusers to exercise power and control over a survivor. Unfortunately, abusers may manipulate physical distancing public health practices to prevent the survivor from seeking help based on fear of the abuser and now the fear of contracting the virus or violating a law. Financial insecurity may increase a survivor’s dependence on an abusive partner, making it challenging to maintain safety and independence. Local community-based organizations may be able to provide financial assistance, including help with rent and utilities, relocation costs, food, cleaning supplies, transportation, gas and car repairs.

Anyone concerned about the safety of a friend, family member or neighbor, should offer support privately and let them know that community-based domestic violence organizations continue to operate. Share the contact information for the domestic violence hotline, text or chat with someone you are concerned about, and reach out for support for yourself. Friends and family often find it beneficial to talk with an advocate.