It would be an understatement to say that stress levels are high now among many Americans. Between worrying about one's own health as well as the health and safety of loved ones as the novel coronavirus spreads across the country, many of us are also worried about not just our own jobs, but the state of the country as unemployment rises dramatically each week.
With so many people staying at home these days to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 outbreak, one repercussion has been a rise in domestic violence across the globe. In China, one city in Hubei Province reported that domestic violence cases had tripled compared to the number of cases reported just one year ago. Women in France are using a code word when they go to the pharmacy to let someone know that they are a victim of domestic violence, and the country has been housing victims in hotels. India's National Commission for Women has also reported a significant surge since the country went into lockdown.
Pennsylvania Lockdown and Domestic Violence
According to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence organization, domestic violence victims are being forced to shelter in place with their abusers and may not be able to call for help. If a victim manages to call law enforcement and leave their home to escape, Pennsylvania courts are still processing emergency and temporary protection from abuse (PFA) orders with little to no problems.
Unfortunately, because of the limits placed on Pennsylvania courts, domestic violence advocates can no longer accompany victims in court, which means victims will have to appear on their own before a judge. This is why retaining an experienced and compassionate Pennsylvania family law attorney is important—for emotional and legal support. Extensions for temporary PFA orders are being granted indefinitely until the courts can reopen.
Meanwhile, domestic violence advocacy groups have stepped up their efforts to work remotely as much as possible. The Pennsylvania Domestic Violence Hotline made sure they had enough staff in place to answer calls 24/7. Counseling and support groups have shifted from meeting physically to online gatherings so they can still talk and support one another.
And some say that there could be another surge in domestic violence charges once the current coronavirus health crisis has passed. Living under the lockdown may lead many to realize they are living in an abusive relationship, but they may wait to act until life has gone back to “normal.”
Pennsylvania Domestic Violence Attorney
If you or a loved one have been living with abuse since the Pennsylvania lockdown started, you do not have to face it alone. If there is an emergency, you can call law enforcement. If it is not an emergency, let a trusted family member know that you need help, and ask them to call Attorney Joseph D. Lento. Mr. Lento can help guide you through the Pennsylvania PFA process, and he understands the extraordinary measures the courts are taking to protect people during the coronavirus pandemic. Contact Joseph D. Lento at 888-535-3686 if you have any questions or concerns.