YWCA anticipates more domestic violence victims seeking help after shelter-in-place

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – With the state steadily reopening, advocates for domestic violence victims expect more people to seek help if they’ve been stuck at home with an abuser.
Angela Beatty, senior director of domestic violence services at the YWCA of Oklahoma City, says shelter-in-place unfortunately has the same trend as holidays for those in abusive relationships– stuck at home in a dangerous situation.

“Victims have unfortunately been in their homes with their abuser or maybe don’t have access to telephones or access to things like that, hopefully as things start to open back up, people will be able to seek those safety measures,” Beatty said.

While the courts have been closed for about two months, victims could still get emergency protective orders through law enforcement if they needed it. However, those are only short term.

Since courts are opening back up, Beatty says final protective order hearings can start again. Those orders can protect someone for up to five years.

“They had previously been pushing court hearings down and having the ability to have some of those final protective order hearings will hopefully give clients a little more safety,” she said.

Beatty says the YWCA has seen an increase in calls during shelter-in-place, but even afterwards, they anticipate more people needing help.

“We do typically see a rise in need for our critical life saving services after times like this, times [that are] stressful for families, times when families have maybe been locked away themselves,” she said.

The YWCA also recently launched the Asian American Women’s Task Force, hoping to shed light on the issues minority communities face.

“We knew that women of color are especially most at risk for domestic and sexual violence because society listens to us the least,” Cindy Nguyen, Task Force leader, said. “What we really wanted to do is talk about those really difficult subjects such as language barriers, cultural stigma, immigration status, and lack of representation… in a lot of social service agencies.”

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