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4 Tips to Reduce Violence During COVID-19

· COVID,Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence During COVID-19 Lockdown

Tip 1: Create a Prevention Plan

Tip 2: Learn to Manage Situations and Emotions

Tip 3: Increase Self-Esteem With Healthy Coping Skills & Positive Self-Talk

Tip 4: Increase Independence & Do Meaningful Activities


scared woman with mask in grayscale

Compared to 2019, San Antonio has seen an increase in family violence by 20% since COVID-19, posing a new danger to survivors of domestic abuse. Hotlines around Texas saw a sharp increase in calls right before the pandemic and then a sudden drop, which could be due to abusers in the home keeping survivors from seeking help during stay-at-home orders. Child abuse cases have a similar trend. here.

Texas defines domestic violence, or family violence, as,

an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.

Dating violence occurs between individuals with a romantic or intimate relationship. Physical injury, sexual threat, unwanted/forced sexual conduct, sexual contact or intercourse is abuse. With verbal violence a person often uses hurtful words to injure another person emotionally and evoke negative feelings.

The intended result of violence is harm, which is why violence can also be verbal. In fact, when a person is trapped in domestic violence, physical abuse comes with verbal abuse.

As the population continues to follow stay-at-home orders, the growing unemployment, childcare responsibilities and lack of resources are stressors that can contribute to abusers lashing out as a way to control what is uncontrollable.

Trapped with their abusers, lockdown is creating a situation where many survivors are unable to access the same help before COVID-19 became a global crisis. However, there are still ways to survive and reduce violence during lockdown.

Here are 4 tips to reduce violence during lockdown:

Tip 1: Create a Prevention Plan

journal with checklist

Abusers use isolation as a tool to assert power and control over others.  Staying connected with personal contacts can help minimize the risk of abuse. Keeping connected may help in identifying potentially dangerous situations.

Keep emergency contacts and make them available to children or dependents who may need to call in situations where abuse has escalated to the point of imminent danger.

Tip 2: Learn to Manage Situations and Emotions

Not every survivor is ready or willing to leave an abusive situation. It is essential that when trapped in situations of abuse to learn to manage situations and emotions and understand emotional triggers. Survivors observing the behavior of verbal and physical aggressors is key. Women who understand their aggressor are able to use behavior patterns to their advantage when surviving abuse. 

Survivors must focus on shifting emotions, learning skills to articulate thoughts and feelings in order to view the behavior of partners objectively and without personalizing.  Feelings and thoughts should be shared when neither partner is intoxicated or on drugs and not feeling upset, keeping in mind that, “people do not make us feel anyway...we are triggered and as a result feelings flare.”

Tip 3: Increase Self-Esteem With Healthy Coping Skills & Positive Self-Talk

self-esteem journal

Diminished self-worth and value can make people susceptible to seeking, cooperating or staying in an abusive situation. An abuser will focus on the negative traits, true or untrue, of a survivor, while the survivor must focus on rebuilding the self-esteem that the aggressor continually tries to break down.

In one Houston study of gender-based domestic violence, 29 out of 30 women left their abusive situation after gaining the self-confidence to do so through their support groups. Women made self-discoveries and re-evaluations of their beliefs, such as “no one has the right to hit them” and were able to combat the blame and accusing tactics their aggressors would use.  These lessons became part of their healthy coping skills including realizations they are not alone and should not remain silent. Self-help and self-preservation skills increase when a sense of self-worth increases.

Tip 4: Increase Independence & Do Meaningful Activities

At the point when caught in circumstances of misuse or abuse, meaningful activities help to bring purpose and happiness back to our lives. Meaningful activities help to overcome periods of boredom, depression, loneliness, disappointment and absence of direction. Depression and negative emotions fade when we experience joy, satisfaction, connections, a feeling of direction and meaning. It’s easy to overlook the “small things,” but small accomplishments like baking cookies, doing puzzles and even singing songs all help to remind us that we have purpose and meaning in life.


Even though the COVID-19 lockdown is in place and hours of operation have changed, as Texas reopens, please continue to remain in contact with these vital sources who will be further able to assist. Find further information about violence here.

Bexar County Family Justice Center (Bexar)

Shelter, Healthcare, Legal Services, etc.

126 E. Nueva St

2nd Floor

San Antonio, TX 78204


Phone: 210-631-0100

Fax: 210-631-0199

Emergency: 911

Monday – Friday / 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Texas Council on Family Violence / National Domestic Violence Hotline

Phone: 1-800-799-7233

Phone (TTY): 1-800-787-3224

Phone and online chat available 24/7/365 también en español

Emergency: 911

Safer Path Family Violence Shelters (Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Frio, Gillespie, Guadalupe, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, McMullen, Medina, Wilson)

Phone: 830-569-2001



Phone and online chat available 24/7/365 también en español

Emergency: 911