Giving Compass' Take:

• The authors highlight the need to ensure that domestic abuse survivors are safe during the COVID-19 pandemic and have access to safe housing after the pandemic. 

• What role can you play in supporting survivors and ensure they can escape abuse safely? 

• Read about changing the domestic abuse narrative for good

With the implementation of stay-at-home orders, victims found themselves trapped in a home with an abuser, leading to more frequent abuse. Now, victims who can leave abusers confront a new crisis: housing.

Los Angeles County is in a particularly vulnerable position battling two issues that could still get worse: a heightened level of homelessness, as the current homeless population jumped by almost 13% even before the economic impacts of the health crisis; and coronavirus contagions.

An American Life Panel survey, conducted by RAND, showed that 9% of respondents living with a partner reported an increase in physical or verbal abuse since the outbreak of COVID-19. Simultaneously, several major cities reported a drop in domestic violence reports to police during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing evidence that people may have been trapped with an abuser without privacy to call hotlines or create safety plans with advocates.

As states' stay-at-home guidance begins to lift, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is experiencing a spike in calls, which may suggest a stifled demand for protection created by stay at home orders.

With the current spike of COVID-19 cases, the pandemic is not a thing of the past. Risk factors of household violence, like economic recessions and joblessness, are still present and so too are the risks of intimate partner violence. Now could be the best time to invest in programs that can help victims get out of unsafe living arrangements and into safe and stable housing before a second wave of COVID-19 cases pushes more families into unsafe environments.

Read the full article about protecting survivors of domestic abuse by Sierra Smucker, Alicia Revitsky Locker, and Aisha Najera Chesler at RAND Corporation.