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Erie County: Domestic violence resources available despite COVID-19 closures

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Tue, Mar 31st 2020 10:50 am

Erie County District Attorney’s Office reminds public law enforcement & advocates remain available to help victims of domestic abuse

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, District Attorney John J. Flynn is reminding the residents of Erie County about resources that remain available for victims of domestic violence.

“This crisis has had an impact on all of us. The stay-at-home order, closure of businesses and schools, and job loss have caused unexpected stress on our communities. I am concerned that this additional stress, while remaining confined in the home, can potentially become triggers for domestic violence,” he said. “I want those who may be at-risk of abuse to know that the Erie County District Attorney’s Office and our partner agencies are available to help.”

His office stressed, “If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.”

Counselors are available by phone to provide resources through the Erie County 24-hour domestic violence hotline: 716-862-help.

The BE-SAFE victim advocacy program provides support, resources and safety planning for victims of domestic violence. While the program specializes in advocacy within the criminal courts, one does not need to have a pending criminal case to access services.

BE-SAFE advocates and social workers are providing remote advocacy through phone outreach on any incoming case. While calls cannot be answered directly at this time, the office line is being monitored by BE-SAFE staff and is linked to the local domestic violence hotline: 716-858-4630.

The DA’s office has significantly reduced the number of employees reporting daily, but a few assistant district attorneys and essential staff are available for essential court procedures, which include temporary restraining orders.

Signs of an abusive partner include:

•Physical abuse (pushing, punching, slapping, choking, kicking, holding one against their will and/or using a weapon or threatening to use a weapon)

•Verbal abuse

•Sexual abuse

•Financial abuse

•Displays jealous, controlling or possessive behavior

•Blames others for his/her/their problems, does not take responsibility for their own actions, or minimizes his/her/their actions

•Threatens self-harm, harm to children or pets

•Destroys property

•Stalking or violating orders of protection

For more information on the BE-Safe victim advocacy program and other local programs, visit www.erie.gov/besafe.

For more information on staying safe during COVID-19 from the National Domestic Violence Hotline, visit https://www.thehotline.org/2020/03/13/staying-safe-during-covid-19/.

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