Help is available for those surviving domestic violence during pandemic

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Posted at 11:00 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 23:02:55-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Since social distancing efforts began, RTV6 has been sharing messages from domestic abuse advocates about the dangerous situations some Hoosiers might be facing.

There are resources available but in some cases picking up the phone to call for help is not an option.

"Our survivors are losing the opportunities that they had because they used to be able to go to work or school, take their kids to school," Jami Schnurpel, from the Julian Center, said.

Schnurpel said the COVID-19 pandemic has cut off those surviving domestic violence from their usual ways to get help.

"You're having people call in for help in the closet or maybe while they're doing laundry," Schnurpel said. "It gets a little bit difficult to assess what's going on when they're trying to whisper."

You might have noticed on social media people aware of what could be happening to their friends and family, posting reminders of ways they can get help without specifically saying they're being hurt so as to not tip off the abuser.

"We have seen people who are becoming a little bit more creative in how they request assistance," Schnurpel said.

GET HELP | Contact the Julian Center

RTV6 is not being specific about what the posts are saying to keep survivors safe. But another option to discretely ask for help is to text 911.

"If you need help and you don't want to be heard asking for help, calling for help, text to 911 is available all over Indiana," Kelly Mitchell, Indiana State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell, chair of the statewide 911 board, said. "It has been statewide since June 2016."

Mitchell said text to 911 has been used countless times since its rollout and while we're all dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, no one should worry about getting help when they need it.

"I want them to hear loud and clear you can text 911 here in Indiana," Mitchell said.

Schnurpel said more attention needs to be given to the problem of domestic violence so people feel safe in their own homes if we ever experience something like this pandemic again.

Anyone who needs help can contact the Julian Center at 317-920-9320.