Critical Information for Domestic Violence Victims during the COVID-19 Crisis

Last Updated On: 3/19/2020 10:48:46 PM

You can still get help and a safety order in court! 

  • If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
  • WV Courts are open for emergency cases. This includes domestic violence protective orders and personal safety orders. You file these cases with the Magistrate clerk in each county. If you have problems filing for a protective or personal safety order, contact Legal Aid. Our lawyers may be able to help. 
  • Legal Aid attorneys are on hand to assist victims. We can be reached at 1-866-255-4370 or you can apply online.
  • Local Legal Aid offices are closed to walk-ins, so please either call our intake line or complete an online intake.
  • You can call a 24/7 Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE to connect with help from your local domestic violence program, including safe shelter.
  • Police can help you get to a shelter if you do not have transportation.

What are some of the reasons I may be at higher risk during this time? 

  • You are more socially cut off. 
  • Your abuser knows you need money or supplies at this time. 
  • You or your abuser have been laid off or had your hours cut. 
  • Your kids are home and things are more stressful. 

What are signs that you and your kids are becoming more unsafe? 

  • Violence and threats happen more often.
  • Violence and threats are getting more severe.
  • Your abuser has physically hurt your kids for the first time.
  • Your abuser has threatened you with a weapon or choked you.

What can you do about your risk? 

You can decide what you want to do to protect your safety. Know that you are not alone.

Here are ways you can get help: 

(1) Call 911 if you are in Danger.

(2) Request a DV Protective Order or a Personal Safety Order in Magistrate Court. The Courts are OPEN for these Emergency Requests. 

  • You file the petitions with the Magistrate clerk in each county
  • For more information about Domestic Violence Protective Orders, for safety from family members,  people you live with,  or people you share a child with, read this article.
  • For more information about Personal Safety Orders, for safety from people not in your family and that you don’t live with, who have abused, sexually assaulted or stalked you, read this article

(3) Contact your Local Domestic Violence Program. There are DV Program offices in each county of West Virginia.

They can:

  • Help you create your own safety plan.
  • Get you in contact with other people who can help.
  • Help you file for an order to keep your abuser away from you.
  • Help you find shelter.
  • Free, safe shelters for victims of abuse are open across WV.
  • Shelters have strict rules around cleaning and public health protection during the COVID-19 crisis. 
  • Connect you to Legal Aid for further legal help.

(4) Contact your local police agency. They can help you get transportation to the courts, to emergency shelter, and other agencies that can help. 

(5) Contact Legal Aid for legal help. Legal Aid offices are closed to the public, but Legal Aid lawyers are still helping with cases for victims. Here is information on how to apply for help from us. 

This is general legal information. For guidance about your situation, talk to a lawyer.