A Stay-At-Home Order has been issued for all of Colorado and went into effect Thursday, March 26, causing huge concerns for those who are victims of domestic violence. Having victims of domestic violence forced to remain in the home with their abusers may be putting them at greater risks of harm and escalating violence.
Most people are now looking to the CDC for guidance on how to respond to COVID-19. The CDC also provides guidelines of risk factors that increase likelihood of domestic violence.
Some of those factors include the very things many are facing in the current stressful state we are in while Colorado takes action to contain COVID-19. Those factors include unemployment, economic stress, tensions within relationships, substance use, and social isolation. Stress factors related to the fears surrounding coronavirus and the steps taken to address it may be placing people at an even greater risk for abuse.
On March 16, Chief Justice Nathan Coats issued an Order Regarding COVID-19 and Operation of Colorado State Courts, wherein he ordered that petitions for temporary civil protection orders and permanent protection orders may not be suspended and will continue to be heard. The new Stay-at-Home Order issued on March 25 does not impact the determination of the Chief Justice as the judicial branch is a “critical government function.” Therefore, protection order issues will still be addressed and can be filed to help protect against abuse now.
While people are stuck in their homes, sometimes paralyzed in fear, there is concern that victims cannot find a safe way to reach out for help. There continue to be a number of resources for victims during this time, though the support may look different as most support organizations have moved to remote work and have taken steps to follow social isolation guidelines.
Additionally, while we are all required to socially distance ourselves from one another, that does not mean we should not look out for one another. This is an important time to check in on others if you are concerned about their safety, even if it can only be through regular phone calls or video chats. If you are concerned that someone is a victim of domestic violence, reach out to any of the resources available to see how you can help.
Victims can find free, confidential help by county through Violence Free Colorado.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-SAFE (7233) or (800) 787-3224 (TTY). Or chat service.
Our team at The Harris Law Firm is always available to speak with residents across the state in matters involving domestic violence, protection orders, and family law. Contact us to speak with a lawyer.