Covid-19 has resulted in many concerns across the globe- some beyond health issues directly related to the virus. Around the word, agencies have reported spikes in calls to domestic violence hotlines and an overall increase in reports of violence (with most victims being women and children). Some countries have reported that calls for help have almost tripled compared to the same time frame last year. On the other hand, advocacy groups have shared that calls to some centers drastically dropped, causing alarm that those experiencing violence are unable to reach out for help due to being in close quarters with their abusers.
It’s important to remember that domestic violence was a global pandemic long before the COVID-19 outbreak. According to data collected by the United Nations, 243 million women and girls between the ages of fifteen and forty-nine worldwide were subjected to sexual or physical violence by an intimate partner in the last twelve months. Put a different way, one in three women has experienced physical or sexual violence at some point in her life. LGBTQ+ individuals experience similarly high levels of violence.
The Council on Foreign Affairs states:
“Today, rising numbers of sick people, growing unemployment, increased anxiety and financial stress, and a scarcity of community resources have set the stage for an exacerbated domestic violence crisis.
Heightened financial pressures and stress, increase in alcohol or drug use, purchase or hoarding of guns as an emergency measure are all characterized by experts as an “invisible pandemic” of domestic violence during the COVID-19 crisis and a “ticking time bomb” or a “perfect storm.”
Historical data reflects the same findings; intimate partner violence increases during times of economic crisis as well as when families spend more time together, such as over the holidays. In a twisted turn, some victims have reported that their abusers use the virus as a way to further assert control. The threat of being kicked out of their homes if they contract the virus becomes a looming possibility for victims- forcing many to stay in a situation that they would otherwise flee. Losing access to family, friends and other support groups due to restrictions on group gatherings has led many victims of violence to choose between abuse or losing shelter; a lose-lose situation.
These statistics mirror those reported on child abuse and neglect. With stress factors at unprecedented levels in households, children are often in direct danger from caretakers. Hospitals across the country are reporting treating more children with severe abuse injuries, indicating the state’s most vulnerable kids are not safe at home during the coronavirus outbreak. Pediatricians across the country are sounding the alarm: the stress of unemployment and financial insecurity has strained relationships between children and those who care for them. The closures of schools and day cares have forced children closer to adults who may not be safe.
Below are local resources in Tucson, AZ as well as some national hotline numbers that provide services and resources to help those in danger of violence.
If you find yourself in a situation where time is of the essence, please call 911.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Phone: 24/7 hotline 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 for TTY. If you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.
Services and Info: The Hotline’s trained advocates are able to talk confidentially with anyone experiencing domestic violence, seeking resources or information, or questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship. Their website also has many resources for anybody who is experiencing violence, or knows somebody who is.
Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
Phone: 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453
Services and Info: The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse. Serving the U.S. and Canada, the hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with professional crisis counselors who—through interpreters—provide assistance in over 170 languages. The hotline offers crisis intervention, information, and referrals to thousands of emergency, social service, and support resources. All calls are confidential.
Arizona Department of Child Safety
Phone: 1-888-SOS-child; 1-888-767-2445
Services and Info: Children are finding themselves in households where stress levels are at unprecedented levels; loss of income, food uncertainty, unsafe situations, and other factors leave children at risk. If you believe a child is the victim of violence or neglect, please call the number above. If you need help providing for your own children, please do not hesitate to call, resources are available to help.
Gospel Rescue Mission
Location: 1130 W. Miracle Mile, Tucson, AZ 85705
Phone: (520) 740-1501
Services and Intake Procedures: The Gospel Rescue Mission offers meals, shelter, clothing, showers, personal care items, case management, chapel services, and spiritual counseling. Women can stay for up to 4 days, but there is also an extended shelter program for up to 90 days for women and children (although boys over 14 not able to go). Women must call in and be screened over the phone and then make an appointment for intake.
Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse
Location: 2711 E. Broadway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85716
Phone: (888) 428-‐0101 or 520-795-4266
Services and Info: Emerge! offers a 24-hour free crisis line as well as emergency shelter facilities, food, clothing, crisis intervention, safety planning assistance, abuse education, support and education groups, and referrals to other agencies and resources. Call for shelter information.
Location: 101 W. Irvington, Suite 2B, Tucson, AZ 85714
Services and Info: Su Futuro is Emerge!’s bilingual outreach office available to all people in the Tucson Community. Services include group support, safety planning, lay legal advocacy, assistance with victim compensation, VAWA assistance, and information/referrals.
Our Family Services
Location: 3830 East Bellevue Street, Tucson, AZ 85716
Cost: Referrals from CPS and other agencies are sometimes are paid by referring agency. Self-pay is $15-‐25 for DV perpetrator groups. Counseling self-pay is $50-75 per session. Fee reductions are available with proof of income.
Phone: (520) 327-4583
Services and Info: Community mediation, counseling (individuals, couples, families), crisis counseling at home, in school, or at offices. Domestic violence groups for men, women, and children and anger-‐management therapy for children, teens, and adults.
Wingspan Anti-Violence Group
Location: 430 E. 7th Street, Tucson, AZ 85705
Phone: 24-Hour Crisis Line (520) 624-‐0348 or 1-800-553-9387 (toll free)
Services and Info: Walk-in hours are Monday-Friday 11a-5p. Wingspan provides free and confidential 24-hour crisis intervention, information, support, referrals, emergency shelter, and advocacy to LGBT victim/survivors of violence. Additionally, they offer extensive outreach and education programs. Walk-in services, bilingual services, and emergency shelter (1-3 nights).
Help is available- you are not alone. If you are in danger, at risk, or would like information on how to help somebody in need, please reach out.