Victims of domestic abuse have found themselves trapped at home with their abusers during Georgia’s shelter-in-place order. While domestic violence survivors are at a higher risk for re-assault during the COVID-19 pandemic, Georgia’s courts have dramatically reduced the number of restraining orders they are processing.
GA Courts Cut Back on Restraining Order Petitions
According to the New York Post, the number of approved requests for protective orders decreased by a staggering 86% (from 85 on a typical day to only 12). Most courts across the nation are limited strictly to emergency matters, but there is a risk that serious domestic violence cases may be classified as “non-emergency.”
Non-emergency petitions and other restraining order petitions are being dismissed or postponed for a later date, though it is not clear who is making these decisions and how. This creates a dangerous situation for domestic abuse victims who have no other place to go and cannot even obtain a restraining order against their abuser.
Domestic Violence Hotlines See a Surge in Coronavirus-Related Calls
For many victims of domestic violence, staying home during the COVID-19 crisis may be more dangerous than becoming infected with coronavirus. Many are facing a dilemma: Stay silent and endure physical and emotional abuse or put themselves at risk by seeking help or attempting to run away from home.
Between March 16 and April 6, the National Domestic Violence Hotline received over 2,300 calls in which COVID-19 was named as a condition of abuse. However, call volume is likely to decrease as the victim’s opportunity to make a call is limited by the abuser’s constant presence and the victim’s inability to go outside due to the stay-at-home order.
Why are Domestic Abuse Victims at Risk During the Pandemic?
As Georgia’s shelter-in-place order is asking residents to stay home as much as possible, domestic abuse victims are at a heightened risk for re-assault during the pandemic. There are several reasons why cases of domestic violence are rising during the virus outbreak:
- Both the victim and their abuser are being trapped at home;
- The victim is confined to a small place with the abuser;
- Fear and uncertainty can cause anxiety, stress, and anger, which further increases the risk of abuse; and
- The prospect of losing a job and becoming unemployed is considered a significant risk factor for domestic abuse (so far, 22 million Americans became unemployed in four weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
Get Legal Help if You Were Accused of Domestic Abuse in Atlanta
For many domestic abuse survivors, living in terror and being under their abuser’s thumb during the virus outbreak is worse than the risk of contracting coronavirus. That is why some victims may choose to leave their house to avoid being stuck in their homes with their abuser, risking potential COVID-19 exposure.
If your intimate partner or spouse is accusing you of domestic abuse during the pandemic, do not hesitate to speak with our Atlanta domestic violence defenselawyers at Ghanayem & Rayasam, LLC. Find out why you should defend your rights with the help of a results-driven and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.
Call at (404) 561-0202 for a case review.