Since mid-March, American life has been in a new state of normal. North Carolina instituted its stay-at-home order on March 30, and the school year will end with students learning from home. Multiple businesses have closed, some likely for good. Unfortunately, crises like this, where unemployment is rising quickly, health concerns are real and parents are being stretched in multiple directions, often lead to rise in domestic violence.

In fact, in an April report, the Economist noted that domestic violence reports were 5% higher since the beginning of March, when states first started implementing stay-at-home orders. Added stress and tension often lead to violent incidents. So, what should you do if you are a victim of domestic violence at this time?

Here are five tips to ensure your safety, and that of your children:

  1. Call 911 and file a police report about your injuries. If you need medical attention, seek it, wearing a mask for protection.
  2. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-779-7233 to learn about resources in near you and how you can exit your home safely.
  3. Create a safety plan, which could include finding family or friends to stay with if local domestic shelters aren’t receiving new residents right now.
  4. Consult a family law attorney about filing a domestic violence protection order against your spouse. Sometimes, you can be granted sole custody of the marital home with a protection order.
  5. Practice self-care. Eat regularly, get as much sleep as you can and exercise. Take a long bath, read a good book or create some art. Keeping your emotional and physical health strong right now is important and will help you get through this time of uncertainty.

Being a victim of domestic violence is frightening. Knowing your options to leave are limited is scary too. That’s why you shouldn’t be afraid to reach out and see what help might be available so you can escape your abuser and live in a safer environment.