Domestic violence advocates urge people to reach out during the pandemic

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Domestic violence organizations want the public to know that they are still operational and urge people to reach out to them if they are in trouble during the pandemic.

“No amount of pressure or circumstance gives anyone the right to hurt another person,” says Mary Petrrow, director of services at Catholic Charities Trenton.

Petrrow says that domestic violence hotlines and services are still available. And with many people stuck inside and unable to leave their homes due to the coronavirus, Petrrow says that it is a critical time to check on friends and family.

“They’re not going to the hairdresser who they might tell or might make a referral. They’re not seeing their doctor, and so it’s even more important for us as a community to mobilize our forces by telephone and keep social distance, but check in with people. See if they’re OK and see if they need help,” Petrrow says.

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Catholic Charities says that the number of calls to their hotline is down now, something that they did expect to see. But they say that when things do return to normal, they are prepared for a spike in calls.

“Someone impacted by domestic violence might reach out at a period of time when the person who is perpetrating that violence isn’t around, and so they may reach out to social services or make a phone call and now they don’t have as many opportunities to make those phone calls,” Petrrow says.

Petrrow says that Catholic Charities has planned its staffing to prepare for the help that will be needed down the road.

“If something happens in your home today, you can call us a week from now, two weeks from now. It’s not because it’s now old news that there’s something that happened during the shelter in place. You can call us at any time about anything that’s happened,” she says.

Catholic Charities of Trenton has two centers located in Burlington and Ocean Counties with 24-hour hotlines.

There is also a state hotline you can reach out to as well.

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