How domestic violence victims can get help during stay-at-home order

As most New Yorkers are sheltering in place to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, experts say domestic violence victims who live with their abusers are more trapped than ever. 
“We just want to make sure people know that we are here,” says Dr. Carla Smith, the senior vice president of programs at Urban Resource Institute.  
The institute operates 12 domestic violence shelters in New York City. Dr. Smith says that during these times there are incidents going on behind closed doors. 
“Those things are going to continue to happen if not at an increased rate because of isolation,” said Dr. Smith. 
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea is also concerned about that. He answered questions via Twitter last week and said that the department has not seen an uptick in cases, but believes that they are not being reported. 
Dr. Smith says that if you’re not comfortable going to the police about your abuser, you should reach out for support to create an exit plan and create a code system with a loved one so they know when you need help. 
If anyone feels like they need to escape or seek shelter, URI can facilitate a safe pick up for you, your kids, and even your pets at a nearby location. 
This is all in an effort to bring those in these situations to safety to one of its residences, where Smith says they are taking COVID-19 precautions. 
 "You can come with the clothes on your back and we're gonna make sure you have everything you have access to the services you need,” said Dr. Smith. 
Since March 18, when NYC Family Justice Centers run by the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic Violence and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV) temporarily closed due to COVID-19, city officials say the NYC HOPE website has seen nearly 2,200 visits with nearly 700 new visitors seeking resources.
Dr. Smith says the New York City Domestic Violence Hotline will connect those with the best provider. 
NYC Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-621-4673 (HOPE)