Everyone is staying in their houses because of the coronavirus pandemic–but what happens when your home isn’t safe? The New York Times reports the pandemic raises the following questions for victims of domestic violence who need the attention of city, state and federal agencies:

  • What do you do if you’re confined to the most terrifying place — your home?
  • What impact does the pandemic have on police response to 911 calls from domestic violence victims?
  • As hospitals are focused on critical care for coronavirus patients, should a victim in need of medical attention avoid going to an emergency room?
  • At shelters, are there protocols in place for the spread of the virus?

Staying at home with your abusive partner might be worrisome now that courts are closed for anything that’s not considered an emergency. However, family law attorney Carolyn Grimes explains that domestic violence is considered an emergency and protective orders are continuing to move forward.

If you are a victim of domestic violence and you feel that you need a protective order to keep you safe, you can still file for it and go to court. They will still hear that case.

Grimes suggests there may be an increase in domestic violence cases during this time. According to an article in Time, the “National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that a growing number of callers say that their abusers are using COVID-19 as a means of further isolating them from their friends and family.”

What I’ve seen is that people are used to having their own routines, and not being together all day. When people are in close proximity for extended periods of time, the little things that irritate you about a person are going to come out. Without anywhere to go, there may be an increased number of cases of people seeking protective orders.

If you have any questions about domestic violence or filing a protective order, please contact Carolyn Grimes at cgrimes@oldtownlawyers.com

About the Author

This is a profile picture of family law attorney Carolyn M. Grimes.

Carolyn M. Grimes

Carolyn Grimes is a partner at Friedman, Grimes, Meinken & Leischner PLLC, practicing in all areas of family law including divorce, spousal support, child custody, child support, equitable distribution, retirement issues, and prenuptial agreements, among other areas.

Consistently named a ‘Best Lawyer’ (from 2014-2023), Ms. Grimes has also been honored as an AV Preeminent (2001-2022) and Gold Client Champion (2019-2021) by Martindale-Hubbell. In addition, she’s been named a Top Lawyer by Northern Virginia Magazine Magazine (2011, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021), a Top Attorney by Arlington Magazine (2019-2021), and a Top Attorney by Washingtonian Magazine (2015) as well as many other top attorney designations.