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From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Domestic violence centers are working hard to make sure victims reach services during the COVID-19 outbreak

Image: Harbor House of Central Florida Logo, www.harborhousefl.com
Image: Harbor House of Central Florida Logo, www.harborhousefl.com

The stereotype of domestic abuse is that it’s loud. So loud, somebody around overhears.

But in fact, that is rarely the case, and during the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s been especially quiet in Florida. In many parts of the country, domestic violence reports have spiked, but in Florida, reported cases have stayed the same or decreased.

Right now, getting out of the house isn’t easy. Neither is getting through the end of a phone call to the Victim Service Center serving Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties at 407-500-4325.

After the statewide “safer-at-home” ordinance was announced, acceptable reasons to leave the house were reduced to essential activities like outdoor exercise or grocery shopping. For those enduring domestic violence, these rare and brief moments when their abuser steps out are sometimes the only opportunities they have to place a quick phone call.

Domestic violence centers and advocates are working hard to make sure survivors and their families can call the 24-hour Victim Service hotline at 407-500-4325 – because they believe there’s good reason to suspect that this silence could become deadly during social distancing.

If you are feeling unsafe during this time, or if you are concerned that a family member, friend or neighbor may be in danger, please call the Victim Service Center 24-hour hotline (407-500-4325) or the 24-hour hotline for Harbor House (407-886-2856).