People across the U.S. are struggling with a number of issues in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. From economic uncertainty to mental and emotional burnout, tensions are running high as we wonder when we can resume our normal lives. For many individuals, domestic abuse and harassment have intensified under these conditions, as spouses or partners are essentially trapped together in a small space for an indefinite period of time. If you or someone you love needs to obtain or enforce a restraining order, working with an experienced family law attorney is essential.
An Uptick in Abusive Behavior
As spouses and partners were encouraged to stay home in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, rocky relationships were pushed to their limits. As early as the end of March 2020, law enforcement agencies across the country were reporting more domestic violence calls, with some areas seeing as much as a 20 percent increase from the previous month. The mounting pressure and stress that people began to face sometimes led to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse, verbal abuse, or even physical violence.
Challenges to Victims Seeking Help
Before the pandemic, victims of domestic violence tended to reach out to a loved one or a shelter when their abuser was not home. With the shelter-at-home orders still in effect in several cities and counties across the country, the abuser is always around, making it nearly impossible to reach out to someone without being detected. In response, several shelters and hotlines began to provide online live chat, text messages, and Facebook messaging services. As some of these restrictions begin to ease in the next few weeks and months, relationship experts and psychologists are hopeful that victims will have more opportunities to reach out and receive the help they need.
Steps to Take in the Portland Area
If you need a restraining order in the Portland area, or if you are concerned that someone has violated the terms of the restraining order you currently have in place, contact a family law attorney immediately to discuss how to proceed. Right now, the Multnomah County Circuit Court is still accepting applications for restraining orders, but these must be submitted to the Multnomah County Justice Center before noon, Monday through Friday. If you are concerned about your immediate safety, contact the police.
At Lee Tyler Family Law, P.C., we understand how anxious or fearful you may be during these stressful times. Our mission is to ensure that you receive the protections you need in order to face a brighter future. Call our Portland office today at (503) 233-8868 to arrange a free initial consultation with a dedicated family law attorney.