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COVID-19 and Domestic Abuse Resources

Posted on May 4, 2020 by Chris Kirker

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For many in the Austin area, the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has turned the world upside-down. Business hours have been reduced, non-essential travel curtailed, and social gatherings prohibited. For those trapped in abusive relationships, these social distancing measures, and the stress associated with the pandemic may have exacerbated the risk of domestic abuse. Indeed, both Austin and San Antonio have seen rises in their respective rates of domestic abuse. 

If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic abuse, the local, state, and national resources for victims remain in place, including the following:

  1. If there is an immediate emergency, call 9-1-1.
  2. Contact the SAFE Alliance’s 24-hour hotline at (512) 267-7233 or text (737) 888-7233 or webchat them here. Central Texas’ SAFE Alliance operates a network of shelters, counseling resources and legal services. The SAFE Alliance also offers resources for children and male victims of abuse. 
  3. To file a protective order in Travis County over the phone, call (512) 854-4163.
  4. For information about filing a protective order in Williamson County, contact the County Attorney’s Office at (512) 943-1918.
  5. To report child abuse or abuse of vulnerable adults to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Service, call 1-800-252-5400.
  6. If you are a young person, call the Texas Department of Family Protective Services, call 1-800-989-6884, or text (512) 872-5777.

People who commit family violence often abuse the household pet as well or use the animal to prevent the victim from leaving the abusive relationship. Protective orders in Texas can include protections for companion animals. You can search online to find on-site and off-site housing resources for people and pets escaping domestic abuse on the Safe Place For Pets website here: https://safeplaceforpets.org/


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