HOUSTON - While staying at home is the safest thing for most people right now during this pandemic, that isn’t the case for those who are being abused.
Local law enforcement agencies are letting victims of domestic abuse know help is available.
Everyone from the mayor to the police chief to county constables all over the area are launching campaigns to let domestic abuse victims know they may be isolated at home with their abuser but they are not alone.
"Instances like what we’re going through now can really set an abuser off because it doesn’t take much anyway,” states "Misty" who says she was abused by her husband for more than a decade.
The longer we’re isolated at home the more reports of abuse are pouring in.
"We’ve seen an increase in call volume when it comes to domestic violence,” explains Harris County Constable Precinct 4 Corporal Christina Coronado.
In fact, as I spoke with Coronado to organize this interview she had to rush to a domestic violence call. As the head of the division, she only responds to the most severe.
Something Misty, whose identity will remain anonymous for her protection, knows too well.
"I have stab wounds. I have been shot at. I have been choked on numerous occasions. I’ve been thrown through glass. It’s like living in a nightmare every day."
Misty says she recently escaped her husband with the help of Houston non-profit Fresh Spirit Wellness for Women, which came up with a Safety Plan and is now providing her housing.
“It’s still that level of fear because I know he’s out there,” says Misty.
Although you may be afraid, Misty and local officers are encouraging you to get help before the abuse escalates.
"We did experience a stabbing last Thursday and this weekend we experienced a homicide,” explains Harris County Precinct 2 Constable Christopher Diaz who says domestic violence has also increased in his area.
Constable Diaz wants you to know wherever you are help is available, even if things are escalating and violence hasn't actually occurred.
"Call us. We call it a domestic violence prevention call. It is no problem for us to come out,” explains Corporal Coronado.
One man, Rashad Clark, was just charged in Precinct 4 after investigators say he pulled a gun on his ex-girlfriend then accidentally shot himself in the foot. Precinct 4 had 700 domestic violence calls last month, 150 more than February.
Harris County Sheriff’s Office is reporting a 160% increase in Family Aggravated Assaults from February to March.
“If you see stress is building, tensions, emotions are rising, get away from the situation. Allow some time to calm down. That goes for the victim and the abuser,” says Corporal Coronado.
Several shelters are now full but they’re putting abuse victims in hotels.
Also if you need a ride away from an abusive home, Houston Area Women’s Center (HAWC) for instance offers free taxi and Uber rides.
Call 911 if you need help immediately.
You may also reach out to HAWC Domestic Violence Hotline at 713-528-2121 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233.
Click here for a full list of other facilities in the Greater Houston area.