- May 1
- Evans & Herlihy
- Family Law
Cities across the country have seen a frightening rise in domestic violence cases since the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic began, according to numerous reports. In Austin, calls to a local domestic violence hotline jumped by 15% during a single week when stay-at-home orders were first put in place, according to an article in The Statesman. And as the weeks go on, domestic violence incidents will almost certainly grow. Because of the significant jump in abuse incidents, we wanted to make community members aware of domestic violence resources in Austin, the state and the nation.
Spouse abuse, child abuse and abuse of any vulnerable person are not okay. It is important that you know where to turn for help if you or a loved one is being abused. The following sections provide domestic violence resources in Austin and elsewhere that you can contact for support. But if you are in immediate danger, don’t call these resources — call 911 right away.
If you are hurt or in immediate danger dial 911.
Get Help from these Domestic Violence Resources in Texas and Nationwide
Tensions are mounting within many families because of the financial and other stresses coronavirus is causing in the country. But increasing stress is not an excuse to violently abuse another person. If you are being abused or fear your situation could become violent, the following organizations offer counseling, emergency shelter assistance and other important services. Some provide 24-hour hotlines so you can get help any time of the day or night.
Domestic Violence Resources in Austin and Texas
- Hope Alliance. The organization provides emergency shelter, counseling, children’s services and other assistance. All services are provided in both English and Spanish. Call the 24-hour hotline at (800) 460-7233.
- SAFE Alliance. SAFE Alliance offers a wide variety of help to people being abused, including emergency shelters, transitional housing and counseling services. Call the 24-hour hotline at (512) 267-7233 or text (737) 888-7233.
- Family Crisis Center. The center located in Bastrop serves people in Bastrop, Fayette, Lee and Colorado counties. It offers crisis intervention, shelter, transitional housing, counseling and other services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Call the 24-hour hotline at (512) 303-7755.
- Asian Family Support Services of Austin. AFSSA helps people escape domestic and sexual violence through safety planning, counseling, access to emergency shelter and housing and other assistance. Services can be provided in various languages. Call the toll-free 24-hour helpline at (877) 281-8371.
- LifeWorks. LifeWorks focuses on providing housing and other assistance to homeless youth and has a counseling division that provides support for individuals and families facing abuse and family conflict. Call (512) 735-2400.
- YWCA Greater Austin. The YWCA offers violence and trauma counseling and other support services to individuals and families. Call 512.326.1222.
- Texas Health and Human Services Family Violence Program. This website from the Texas Health and Human Services department provides information on domestic violence resources and shelters throughout the state.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline. This hotline offers safety planning, emotional support and other assistance. Additionally, this national resource provides help to abusive partners about how to change their own behaviors. Call the 24-hour hotline at (800) 799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522 if it isn’t safe for you to speak.
- Crisis Text Line. The crisis text line provides help to people facing any type of crisis, including domestic violence. You can get 24/7 support by texting HOME to 741741.
- RAINN. Sometimes domestic abusers are also sexually violent. RAINN is the country’s largest anti-sexual-violence organization. If you call, you will be put in touch with a trained advocate from a sexual assault service provider near you. Call (800) 656-4673 or use the chat tool on the website.
Domestic Violence Resources Nationally
Reporting Child Abuse
Children can be especially vulnerable to abuse during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the American Psychological Association. In addition to the financial stresses families are facing, parents also don’t have the usual resources available to help with child care, such as paid providers, family members and schools. These mounting stressors can sometimes spell danger for children, who may be too young or too fearful to speak out.
If you witness a child being abused, call 911. If you think it might be occurring but are not sure, you can report your suspicions to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services at
(800) 252-5400. Your report will be kept confidential. You can also call this number to report suspected elder abuse of people over the age of 65 or adults with disabilities.
Preventing Spouse Abuse and Partner Abuse
People who are abusers or who may potentially become abusive often put out warning signs. If you are in a new relationship, or even in a long-term one, paying attention to these signals can help prevent you from being abused. Depending on the degree to which these signs exist, it can be a wise idea to seek support or explore safe ways to potentially end the relationship. Some of the signs include:
- Extreme jealousy of time spent with other people
- Discouraging you from seeing family and friends
- Trying to control all of your activities
- Intentionally embarrassing or shaming you in front of others
- Blaming you for all the problems in the relationship
- Threatening to take away your children
- Threatening to hurt pets
- Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t wish to.
Even relationships with no previous history of violence can be tested during this COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. People who are involved in already abusive relationships may see the danger to their safety increase. Couples who were already separated or going through divorce may see greatly heightened conflict as issues surrounding money and child custody are inflamed. If you don’t feel safe, get help from a domestic violence resource.
Contact an Austin Family Lawyer for Help
If you are considering leaving a marriage and need help navigating a divorce, or if you have other family-related legal concerns, contact Evans & Herlihy Law firm today at (512) 732-2727 for a free consultation. Our experienced family law firm is here for you.