Domestic violence agency shares tips for survivors after uptick in deadly domestic related shootings


WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — Domestic violence agencies and shelters are seeing more calls for help as many families are struggling during the coronvirus pandemic.

We’ve reported three deadly domestic shootings in the last month. Unfortunately, two of those deadly shootings were in York County, an area the Avalon Center serves.

The Avalon Center reached out to 10 On Your Side to share tips from survivors to help escape a domestic violence.

Leslie Jingluski, the Avalon Center Community Engagement Coordinator said during this time many people are struggling with financial crisis and sometimes it takes a turn for the worse.

“It is very unfortunate, yet not unexpected because stress is a huge factor in escalating these situations. We know from doing what we do that domestic violence gets worse in stressful situations. I don’t know that this country has ever seen as stressful situation as what we are going through right now,” said Jingluski.

The group of victims advocates created a social media campaign to help people living in an abusive household.

#WeRespond campaign tips for Domestic Violence survivors:

  • Make copies or take pictures of important documents (IDs, social security cards, immigration documents, birth certificates, health insurance insurance, orders of protection, etc.)
  • Create an exit plan with someone who could support this need
  • Create a code word with trusted friend or family member
  • Set up daily check- in times with friend or family member
  • Try to get a burner phone (if abuser breaks cellphone)
  • Pack a bag with medications
  • Delete web browser history

The Center says the tips are from domestic violence survivors who stress the importance of a safety planning.

“Don’t live in denial. Understand that these are very stressful times. Emotional abuse, physical abuse, all of it can come into play, especially when things arise and altercations arise. We want to have you prepared. Be prepared and hope you don’t have to use it.”

If things escalate quickly, the center’s survivors recommend children should leave the room or call for help (do not get involved with altercation) and try to avoid the kitchen area.

“We want you to leave the kitchen. Go into the den, go into a room with doors or windows. The kitchen, unfortunately is the most dangerous place in your house,” explained Jingluski.

The center along with other local agencies are seeing an increase in calls to the 24- hour helpline during the stay- at- home order. Jingluski says the victims advocates are committed to making sure people have a safe escape from abuse. 

“When you are stuck at home with your abuser, there is financial crisis, emotional crisis, physical crisis. We are seeing an uptick in calls unfortunately. We were pretty prepared for it.”

10 On Your Side’s Kiahnna Patterson is committed to helping Break the Cycle of domestic violence.

Here are some local and national resources for those in need of help.

Transitions Family Violence Services in Hampton

  • Phone: 757-722-2261  
  • Offers emergency shelter and crisis services
  • 24- hour Crisis Hotline (757) 723-7774

YWCA South Hampton Roads in Norfolk

  • Phone: 757-625-4248
  • Offers counseling, youth, and crisis services.
  • 24-hour Crisis Hotline: 757-251-0144

Avalon Center in Williamsburg

  • Phone: 757-258-5022
  • Offers transitional housing, emergency shelter, youth services, legal advice, and counseling.
  • 24-hour Crisis Hotline: 757- 258-5051

Samaritan House Inc. in Virginia Beach

  • Phone: 757-631-0710
  • Offers counseling, emergency shelter placement, and safety planning.
  • 24-hour Crisis Hotline 757-430-2120

HER Shelter in Portsmouth

  • Phone: 757-485-1445
  • Offers emergency services, court assistance, shelter, employment, housing assistance.
  • Hotline: 757-485-3384

Girls Recognizing Our Worth G.R.O.W Foundation, Inc. serves the entire Hampton Roads area: 757-384-0294

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1−800−799−7233

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