When Your Home is Not Safe

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Physical distancing can be stressful and leave people feeling isolated from their friends and families. For victims of abuse or domestic violence, home may not be a safe place, and “stay at home” orders can lead to fear for safety and deeper feelings of isolation. 

The financial impacts of COVID-19 can also contribute to people being trapped in abusive relationships and homes, as losing income makes it harder to leave an abusive partner. 

Fear and anxiety about COVID-19 can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. With high levels of stress and anxiety around COVID-19, there is concern for increases in domestic violence and abuse. Situations where an abusive partner may be feeling a loss of power and control can affect how victims and survivors are being treated in their homes. 

Stress, Depression, and Anxiety

Stress and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions during and after a disaster. Common reactions include: 

  • Concern about protecting oneself 
  • Frustration about the disruption of daily routines 
  • Feeling socially isolated 
  • Guilt, if being supported by loved ones 

This is stressful financially, and I am concerned about how to continue to support myself. Financial stress, economic impacts, and job uncertainty related to COVID-19 are significant sources of stress and anxiety in our community. This may also contribute to feelings of isolation and uncertainty. 

Some helpful resources are

  • The Federal Government has recently passed legislation to provide a stimulus relief package to help American families and businesses. For more information visit: www.irs.gov/coronavirus
  • Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued an executive order to stop residential evictions due to non-payment of rent from 3/22-6/22/20. The executive order does not waive the tenant's responsibility to pay rent that is due, and does not waive the tenant's responsibility to honor the fixed term of a lease. Tenants who are concerned they will not be able to pay their full rent are encouraged to notify their property manager as early as possible. For more information, visit: https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19. 
  • Utility providers in our community are working to support those affected by the COVID- 19 pandemic. This may include suspending nonpayment disconnections and late fees. Please contact your provider directly for the most current information. 
  • Energy Assistance Funds: The Community Services Consortium (CSC) offers financial assistance to income-qualified individuals and families to assist with utility payments. They can be reached at 541-752-1010. 

Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid)

If your income has changed, you may be able to qualify for Oregon Health Plan (OHP). The Oregon Health Authority also now has flexibility to remove barriers for people to get and keep their Medicaid/Oregon Health Plan Coverage. Specifically, this means: 

  • All members who are currently enrolled in OHP will not lose coverage during this crisis. This includes coverage that is only state-funded (i.e. Cover All Kids). 
  • Individuals can sign up for OHP without having to verify their income (submit a pay stub) with their application. They will be able to self-attest, which will help get access to coverage more quickly. 
  • Federal stimulus payments and increased unemployment payments will not affect OHP eligibility. They will not be counted during the application process or when members report a change in their household. 
  • Oregon will have additional flexibility to add to its healthcare workforce, provide treatment in temporary sites, and for paying for providers during this public health emergency. 
  • For questions about OHP, to sign up, or to learn about other insurance options – contact The Community Health Centers of Linn and Benton County at 541-766-2130. 

Taking care of your mental health and wellbeing 

  • Do art projects, play games, do puzzles, or read books. 
  • Read books, listen to podcasts, or watch movies or shows. 
  • Get outside and take a walk, go on a bike ride, or go for a run. 
  • Check in with yourself on whether your increased levels of stress or anxiety are resulting in higher than normal consumption of substances. 
  • The Oregon Recovery Network is a centralized location with the latest state and local support, treatment, and recovery resources. Please visit https://oregonrecoverynetwork.org for more information. 

Reaching out for help 

COVID-19 and physical distancing can add to existing barriers when trying to leave abusive environments. For example those who have experienced abuse may be hesitant to go to a hospital if they need medical attention, or afraid to go to a shelter, for fear of catching the virus. 

During COVID-19, restraining orders are considered an essential service. You can still petition for a restraining order through Benton County Circuit Court and hearings can be held over the phone. For more information, please call 541-243-7846 or by email Benton.DomRel@ojd.state.or.us 

Additional Resources: 

If you want to reach out for support, but are concerned about being overheard, please note that several resources below have text or chat options. 

Local

  • You can contact Benton County’s Crisis Line at 1-888-232-7192. 
  • Benton County Counselor of the Day is still available for anyone in crisis and needing to talk with a therapist or counselor immediately. Please call 541-766-6835. 
  • Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence (CARDV) 24 hour crisis and support line
    • Call 541-754-0110.
    • They can also provide emergency shelter. 
  • Crisis Text Line 
    • To speak with a Crisis Counselor, text OREGON to 741741 
  • Jackson Street 
    • If you are a youth or family of youth experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness due to family conflict, call our 24 Hour Hotline: 800-901-2904. 
  • Youthline (A teen-to-teen crisis and help line) 
  • Oregon Family Support Network Parent to Parent peer support warmline​
    • Call 1-833-REACH OR (1-833-732-2467) Tuesdays, Wednesday & Thursdays from 12:00pm to 7:00pm
    • https://www.ofsn.org 
  • Call the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline If you suspect a child is being abuse or neglected 
    • 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).
    • If a child is in immediate danger, call 911.

National 

  • National Sexual Assault & Abuse Hotline 
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline 
    • Call 1-800-799-7233
    • TTY 1-800-787-3224
    • Text TalkWithUs to 66746. 
  • TTY 1-800-846-8517 
  • National Suicide Lifeline 
    • Call 800-273-8255 (24 hr)
    • Text 273TALK to 839863 (8:00am to 11:00pm PST daily) 
  • The Disaster Distress Hotline is available 24/7: 
    • 1-800-985-5990
    • Deaf/Hard of Hearing Individuals: Text TalkWithUs to 66746
    • TTY 1-800-846-8517 o Spanish Speakers: Call 1-800-985-5990 and press "2" 
    • Deaf/Hard of Hearing Individual: (Spanish): Text Hablanos to 66746 
  • Trevor Project Line (LGBTQIA+ hotline)