Local Abuse Hotline Sees “Slight Increase” In Calls, Adapts to Social Distancing

Haven, a Metro Detroit shelter, says it has seen an increase in people seeking help for domestic abuse, but there’s new challenges in providing assistance.

The Governor’s ‘Stay at Home’ order has caused potential problems for people living at home with domestic abusers. 

“With ‘Stay at Home,’ it is difficult for people to be able to physically get away from their abusive partner.” — Jocelyn Clarke, Haven

Jocelyn Clarke is the Crisis and Support Line Supervisor with Haven, an Oakland County domestic violence shelter and support non-profit.

She says there has been an increase in people seeking help since the ‘Stay at Home’ order was implemented.

“We are seeing slight increase in calls,” Clarke says. “We get many calls for people looking for shelter, looking for help with filing a personal protection order, help with safety planning.”

But she says the order provides unique challenges, complicating already difficult circumstances. 

“Shelters are full and it is difficult to find housing in the best of times,” Clarke says. “But with ‘Stay at Home,’ it is difficult for people to be able to physically get away from their abusive partner. That does present a challenge for us.”

Click on the player above hear Haven’s Crisis Line Supervisor Jocelyn Clarke on how to get help for domestic abuse.

Making a Plan

Clarke says the first thing to someone living at home with an abuser should do is make a safety plan.

“We might talk about contacting the police, having some sort of code word with a family or friends,” Clarke says. “It might mean in different times, maybe not during quarantine, but sometimes it would involve coming to a shelter or going to a hotel or going to friends or family members.”

Finding A Time to Get Help

Clarke says that while the number of calls is slightly higher, in particular they’re seeing a shift away from day-time callers. 

“Usually we’re busier during the day times, like between nine and five,” Clarke says. “That does change a little bit now with kids being home and with abusive partners possibly being home as well.”

Need help? Call the Haven crisis line at 248-334-1274.

When to Call 9-1-1

“If it is a bodily harm type of situation, definitely call the police first,” Clarke says. “They’re going to be the ones that are able to help you, and from what I understand the police are still in are still responding to domestic violence calls in person.”

She says the crisis line is available 24/7 for counseling via telehealth, filing a personal protection order, speaking with an advocate and offering shelter.

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  • Russ McNamara
    Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. He's been an avid listener of WDET since he moved to metro Detroit in 2002.