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Maine abuse survivors at greater risk during coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak

Maine domestic violence advocates fear increased isolation could leave potential victims more exposed during the coronavirus, COVID-19 restrictions.

SANFORD, Maine — As more and more Mainers stay indoors to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19 virus, advocates fear increased isolation is putting victims of domestic abuse at greater risk.

They say many couples working remotely, or even worse not working at all can leave a potential victim more exposed.

Caring Unlimited, is a non-profit based in Sanford. The organization runs a crisis shelter, hotline, support groups and other resources serving about two-thousand people every year.

Executive Director Susan Giambalvo says the hotline has not seen a spike in calls. Some victims may not have privacy to reach out because they are stuck at home with their abusers, who are working from home or who are out of work. 

Abusers often isolate victims from family and friends. Experts say social distancing being reinforced as a necessary precaution during COVID-19 -- is compounding the dangers survivors are facing.. so much some victims are not calling 911 despite suffering physical violence at the hands of their partners

'They are not sure if it's safe to reach out to emergency medical care or any medical care because they 're concerned about being exposed to the coronavirus', said Giambalvo. 

Caring Unlimited crisis shelter is open, but they are practicing safe distancing. You can call 2-1-1 for help, including information and referrals to shelters, hotlines and domestic violence resources. 


  • Caring Unlimited 24-hour helpline: 1-800-239-7298 or for more information.
  • Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence Statewide Domestic Violence Helpline: 1-866-834-4357 or for more information 
  • Through These Doors 24-hour helpline: 1-800-537-6066 or click here
  • National Domestic Violence Abuse Hotline click here

At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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