Seeking safety from domestic violence or elder abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic? You are not alone.
Although we are all spending more time in our homes away from our families and friends, we as a community can help protect those in abusive situations by staying aware and knowing what to look for.
The Napa County District Attorney’s Office wants the public to know some of the warning signs and the resources available to protect victims and their loved ones from all forms of family violence, especially while we are social distancing.
“We are here to provide critical resources and support needed to prevent family violence and keep victims safe during this pandemic,” said Napa County District Attorney Allison Haley.
If you are concerned for a friend or loved one during these uncertain times, here are some warning signs you can look for:
- Mood changes
- Comments about being controlled financially
- He/she is unavailable frequently when you try to call
- He/she can only speak to you when they are alone
- He/she is making excuses for someone else’s outbursts or behavior
- He/she has visible injuries for which he/she gives suspicious excuses.
Napa County has resources available to help victims of violence who need assistance. If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic violence, NEWS-Domestic Violence & Sexual Abuse Services has a 24-hour anonymous hotline with bilingual services.
If you or someone you know is suffering from elder abuse, or if you suspect they are suffering from elder abuse, you can call Adult Protective Services in Napa County, or report online.
Additionally, the Victim/Witness division of the Napa District Attorney’s Office can provide assistance with navigating the court system for filing a restraining order, even if there is no criminal case filed.
If you are concerned a friend of family member may be in danger, these practical tips may prove useful:
- Ask if they are OK
- Help them create a safety plan including things like code words and gathering important documents in the event they need to leave with short notice
- Offer to be their support system and help them explore resources
- Call the NEWS hotline to speak with a trained counselor in domestic violence
- If you believe someone is being hurt or is in imminent danger of being hurt call 911. Napa law enforcement is responding to calls.
As our community continues to navigate these uncertain and stressful times, remember that we are all in this together. Taking care of one another is more important than ever.
Editor’s note: This item has been modified to correct the current name of NEWS-Domestic Violence & Sexual Abuse Services, which was formerly known as Napa Emergency Women’s Services.
Yuen Chiang is Victim Witness Program Manager and Kecia Lind and Nicole Noonan Miller are Deputy District Attorneys in the Family Violence Unit.
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