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Domestic violence victims more vulnerable during disasters

When New Jersey residents face serious and life-threatening disasters, those who are in abusive situations can be vulnerable. On top of restricting access to basic human needs and increasing stress, events such as hurricanes can increase the prevalence and severity of domestic violence incidents. As such, experts say that domestic violence services should be included in assistance and services provided to disaster victims.

When professionals begin responding to a disaster, they can promote the empowerment of those in domestic violence situations by ensuring that their basic needs are met. They can also provide comfort and support by assisting them with finding post-disaster resources. Once the disaster is over and the community is coming together to recover and rebuild, the professionals can continue to connect those experiencing domestic violence to long-term services that can help them get out of the situation.

Helping victims can be easier if connections are made between domestic violence organizations and the services that typically respond to disasters, like local law enforcement agencies. Professionals could participate in increasing domestic violence awareness and training those who can help vulnerable individuals before a disaster actually occurs. This way, first responders are ready to act.

There are many forms of domestic violence that a person can experience. These include physical, emotional and financial abuse. Regardless of whether or not a person is physically injured by a family member or significant other, that person may feel the need to seek protection to ensure their safety. An attorney could help determine what options a victim has. For example, an order of protection may be necessary if there is evidence of harassment, stalking and threats of violence. The attorney may assist with gathering evidence that backs the allegations.

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