Domestic violence is a very real problem, and after law enforcement has to get involved the legal process for many of those cases in Gallatin County starts at the Law and Justice Center.
“With domestic cases, we haven’t really seen a spike in the quantity of cases. What we have seen is an increase in intensity in domestic calls,” explained Jeremy Kopp with the Gallatin County Sheriff's Department.
Orders to help stop the coronavirus from spreading, but may have unintentionally forced victims to spend more time with their abusers.
“Isolation is already a tactic of abusers to exert power and control so when the stay-at-home order happened, already everybody was in isolation, that definitely is another factor for survivors in those situations,” said Meghan Lockner with Haven.
The virus may not be directly affecting your health. But if domestic violence is, there’s help for you that can come in step by step guidance.
“If they want to reach out and talk to the advocates a little bit more sometimes safety planning will happen. They may say I want to get out of this situation and our survivor advocates can help them with that and walk them through the steps of when is a safe time, how can you safely get out of the situation, what are your resources, and kind of just work with them to figure out what is the next solution in this,” Lockner explained.
The bottom line is victims don’t have to stay in harm’s way because of the pandemic.
“At the end of the day, survivors know their abusers best. I definitely think there’s a lot of resources out there both through Haven and on the internet. So, look through those and find out what elements of a safety plan work best for you," Lockner said.
There is a confidential shelter located in Bozeman for those who need emergency housing through HAVEN.
Haven's 24-hour support hotline is 406.586.4111