CAMDEN COUNTY, NJ —Domestic violence in Camden County may be about to get much worse. In a county that already reports the second highest rates of domestic violence in the state, the added stress of the COVID-19 virus and resulting “stay at home” mandates that have no end in sight is likely to compound existing abuse and intimate partner violence.
Quarticha Perkins, Director of Victims Services for Camden County Women’s Center (CCWC) states: “We are losing the ability to live our lives as we normally would due to forces beyond our control. Many people are not able to work, children are out of school and we are all being told to stay at home.”
Home for some, may not be a safe place during the best of times. Most domestic violence cases focus on power and control. Thus, when abusers lose control in some areas, they may take it out on their victims, resulting in more extreme forms of violence. The isolation of being at home together allows fewer opportunities for victims to seek support and additional time for perpetrators to abuse. This also may allow more time for children to bear witness or to experience the abuse first hand.
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, COVID-19 is also being used as another tool of control with abusers threatening to throw victims out of the house if they get sick or threatening to throw them out so they can possibly get sick. Many victims that may need medical attention will be reluctant to seek it for fear of exposure in local Emergency Rooms.
Angel Perez, Executive Director of NJAC (parent organization to CCWC), wants all residents of Camden County to know that we will remain operational during this very difficult time. Our 24-hour hotline is answered at all times and can be reached at 856-227-1234.
The Safe House is open and accessible for women and children seeking safety from domestic abuse. Each family has their own room and bathroom; increased disinfecting is being performed and physical distancing is encouraged throughout the Safe House. Motel stays with support services can also be arranged for male victims.
Our Outreach Support Center and PALS program remain operational via phone and legal advocacy and other support can be accessed through the 24-hour hotline and at 856-963-5668.
Mrs. Perkins offers hope: “I have witnessed first-hand victims that have suffered great physical, sexual, and emotional harm that have gone on to survive and thrive. No one deserves abuse, no matter what, and CCWC can help.”
CCWC is also reaching out to others who are in a position to help in other ways. Fred Rogers said it best when he said, “in times of disaster, look for the helpers.” Responding to the pandemic has meant buying extra cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and adding staff hours. If you are in a position to assist, donations can be accepted at http://www.njaconline.org/32.html. Designate CCWC as the recipient of your donation.
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