What You Need to Know about Domestic Violence and COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic and “shelter in place” orders, instances of domestic violence have increased as victims have been forced to constantly be in close proximity with their abusers. Utah dispatchers reported a 30% increase in domestic violence calls in March. While it’s dii\fficult to escape such a difficult and tragic situation, there are many resources for victims including shelters, nonprofit organizations, and legal services.

Domestic Violence in Utah

Unfortunately in Utah, about 18 percent of women and 10 percent of men will experience some form of domestic violence, whether it’s physical, mental, or emotional. About 22% of reported cases involve children. With the current pandemic, shelters and programs that help victims in Utah have reported an uptick in calls from victims and their families needing help.

Legal Help and Other Resources

There are so many wonderful resources to help victims escape their abusers including the Utah Domestic Violence LINKline, the National Sexual Assault Hotline, and the National Parent Helpline. But what about legal help? There are certain steps you can take to legally protect yourself and your children from your abuser.

In Utah, you can file a Protective Order with the courts. A Protective Order can order the perpetrator to stay away from the victim and not commit any acts of violence against them. If an abuser violates the Protective Order, then they can be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor. You can get a Protective Order whether you’re married, cohabitating, or just dating.

Many victims of domestic violence may be afraid or uncertain about how to file an order with the court. Pro Bono legal assistance can be very limited and many victims may not have the financial means to afford a traditional attorney. Luckily, Licensed Paralegal Practitioners (LPP) in Utah can offer these same services for a more affordable rate than a lawyer.

If you or a loved one is a victim of domestic violence, we’ve put together a resource for you so that you can get out of a bad situation. Contact us today to work with an LPP to help you file a Protective Order and get away from your abuser.

 

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