Stay Home, Stay Safe: Surviving domestic abuse during the coronavirus quarantine

Mar 27, 2020

With the “Stay Home” orders for Fort Bend and Harris counties, people who are surviving violence in their relationships and families are experiencing even greater isolation and danger. If you are experiencing domestic violence, you are not alone. One in four women experience abuse in their lifetime.

Area domestic violence shelters and service providers continue to offer services. AVDA’s free legal representation for protective orders, divorce, child support, child custody and adoption in the case of parent fatality is still available in Austin, Grimes, Fort Bend, Harris, Waller and Washington counties.

In the current climate, it might be difficult to access the protective order process. AVDA is doing its best to help survivors obtain the protective orders they need. If you need a protective order, call AVDA at 713-224-9911 if in Harris County. If in Fort Bend County, call 281-207-2312. For Austin, Grimes, Waller and Washington counties, call 979-826-3290, ext. 219. If you have to leave a message, please tell us the safest time to call back.

AVDA’s victim advocates, paralegals and attorneys have replaced face-to-face meetings with phone calls and the Zoom conferencing application. The courts are still open, and in certain cases, AVDA’s attorneys are accompanying clients for hearings at the courthouse.


If you are still living with your abuser:
  1. Stay as safe as you can. When an argument breaks out, know the safest place in the house; stay away from spaces like the kitchen, bathroom and garage where objects that can be weaponized are kept.
  2. Have a safety plan and know where your keys and important papers are. If it is safe to do so, call AVDA at 713-224-9911 (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) or visit online at for safety planning. If it is not safe to use your phone or computer, ask a friend or family member to do so and share the information with you in a phone conversation, if save.
  3. Prepare for a situation where an abuser might hide essential supplies and/or prohibit you from leaving the home to access essential supplies.
  4. Get outdoors, if you can. Staying home together provides more opportunity for conflict and for those disagreements to escalate. Take a walk to allow some time for things to de-escalate.
  5. Keep your gas tank full with your car backed into your parking place in case you have to make a quick escape in your car.
  6. For help 24/7, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522.
  7. If you can make plans to leave your abuser safely for a shelter or to stay with a friend or family member, do so. Remember: Never tell the perpetrator that you plan to leave.
  8. In an emergency, call 911.
  9. For additional safety planning information, click here
If you recently left your abuser:
  1. Remember the most dangerous time for a survivor of domestic violence is at the time of or right after leaving the perpetrator.
  2. Emotional abuse leaves scars long after the actual abuse has ended. AVDA provides free counseling for victims of domestic abuse and their children.
  3. For free legal representation for protective orders, divorce, child custody, child support and adoption in the case of parent fatality: Call 713-224-9911 in Harris County; 281-207-2312 in Fort Bend County; and 979- 826-3290, ext. 219 in Austin, Grimes, Waller and Washington counties.


Helpful Local Resources

Area shelter hotlines:
Houston Area Women’s Center: 713-528-2121
The Bridge Over Troubled Waters: 713-473-2801
FamilyTime Crisis and Counseling Center: 281-446-2615
Fort Bend Women’s Center: 281-342-4357

United Way 211 Helpline
Dial 211

Harris County Public Health (HCPH)\COVID-19
This number is staffed from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day: 832-927-7575

For City of Houston Residents
Houston Health Department
The number is staffed from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday-Friday and 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday: 832-393-4220

For Fort Bend County Residents
Fort Bend County Health & Human Services
This number is staffed Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.: 281-633-7795

Harris Health System
Answered from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. every day for clinical-related questions only: 713-634-1110


Helpful National Resources
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 24/7, confidential and free: 1-800-799-7233 and through chat.
  • The National Sexual Assault Hotline is 24/7, confidential and free: 800.656.HOPE (4673) and through chat.
  • The StrongHearts Native Helpline for domestic/sexual violence is available 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. CT, confidential, and specifically for Native communities: 1−844-762-8483.
  • The Trans LifeLine for peer support for trans folks 9 a.m. – 3 a.m. CT: 877-565-8860. This hotline is staffed exclusively by trans operators and is the only crisis line with a policy against non-consensual active rescue.
  • National Parent Helpline Monday –Friday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. PST. This hotline provides emotional support and advocacy for parents: 1-855-427-2736.