Domestic violence victims face additional challenges in midst of COVID-19 pandemic

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CHICAGO — Friday’s shelter-in-place order impacts every segment of the population, but for victims of domestic violence it poses a unique threat.

Calls poured in Friday morning at the Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline from people seeking advice, safety and shelter.

There are approximately 1,000 beds and cribs available in Illinois, but domestic violence shelters — which are similar to college dorm rooms with community rooms and kitchens — are at capacity while taking COVID-19 precautions.

“Capacity in the last couple of days — they have been full either due to full capacity or having to limit the number they accept or having to do deep cleaning. Victims of abuse — if they felt before that their resources were limited — they are definitely feeling less in control of the situation. But we are still here,” said Alondra Montes, Director of the Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline.

Crisis line advocates are in place now — fielding about 90 calls a day compared to the 65 they typically receive in a 24-hour period.

Domestic violence organizations are working to establish a plan for emergency housing to keep victims safe during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline is free, confidential, multi-lingual and open 24 hours a day.

They can be reached at 1-877-863-6338.

For more information visit their website.

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