The stay-at-home orders stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic have had another negative effect on the lives of Americans. Reports of domestic violence have been on the upswing since March and even as the lockdowns eased some in the summer.

Spouses at odds in close quarters and, sometimes, with children present can see petty disagreements turn into full-scale violent attacks. The pandemic-related stress sometimes becomes just too much for some to handle. Now, your spouse has taken out his aggravation on you with taunts, beatings and threats involving weapons such as guns and knives. It is time to leave for the sake of your life and the lives of your children.

Get orders of protection, seek help

The increased severity of violence is sad, startling and not unprecedented. Domestic violence victims often are under the watchful eye of an abusive spouse, some of whom rely on smart homes and smart recording to spy on every move the victim makes.

When the COVID-19 lockdowns loosened, some domestic abuse victims saw their chance to flee. If you are a victim and in a troubled marriage, here are the things you need to do:

  • Seek help immediately, whether through friends, family or even an emergency shelter. You need guidance and a temporary and safe place to stay. And do not let your estranged spouse know where you are staying.
  • Seek a temporary order of protection against your spouse.
  • Secure an exclusion order in which the court banishes the abuser from the home.
  • Pursue temporary child support through the court.
  • Do not return to your abusive spouse. You will likely get more of the same treatment.
  • Retain a skilled attorney and begin divorce proceedings.

For some couples in troubled marriages, rumblings of domestic violence have increasingly surfaced during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the past seven months, the catch phrase has been to “stay safe.” This phrase has a double meaning for domestic abuse victims. Stay safe, stay alive and stand up for yourself.