BANGOR – For a victim of domestic violence there are many challenges to staying safe. Those obstacles are increasing exponentially during the coronavirus pandemic.
“One of the things we know about domestic abuse is isolation is a tactic to prevent a victim from reaching out to get help when they’re in a difficult situation,” said Julianne Wortman, the victim witness advocate in Piscataquis County.
“We’re all self isolating now so you can imagine what that must look like for a victim,” she said.
Despite misconceptions, the district attorneys for Penobscot and Piscataquis counties, law enforcement and Partners for Peace want to remind anyone experiencing domestic violence help is available.
While courts are limiting hours, they are still open. People are able to get protection from abuse orders.
Wortman said hours vary from week to week. The best way to find out if your local court is open is to visit the website.
Last week, Governor Janet Mills suspended lodging operations, such as hotels.
“If you are a victim trying to escape domestic violence, hotels are open to you,” said District Attorney Marianne Lynch.
Hotels can be an option, but an official with Partners for Peace added economically it might not be.
“This is a very scary time to be a victim of domestic violence, especially one who is living with an abuser, because the access to resources are limited,” said Casey Faulkingham, community response team leader for Partners for Peace.
Faulkingham suggested victims and survivors should have a plan if they need to escape quickly.
Partners for Peace is there 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Anyone can call. Advocates are working to expand their online chat service for those in a situation where it may not be safe to call.
“It’s important that victims know that there are resources out there for them during this time despite the fact that many businesses are closed,” said Deputy District Attorney Devon DeMarco.
Below are some resources available for survivors and victims of domestic violence.
Partners for Peace 24-hour helpline – 1(800) 863-9909
Pine Tree Legal – (207) 942-8241
Victim Witness Advocates from Penobscot County – (207) 561-6201