Back to Learning Center


Specialty tag(s): High-Conflict Divorce

Sheltering-in-Place and Intimate Partner Violence: Seeking Help During an Emergency

Kristiana Butler | March 27, 2020

Sheltering-in-Place and Intimate Partner Violence Seeking Help During an Emergency- Kristiana Butler- Goranson Bain Ausley Austin- Coronavirus COVID19

While most Texans are staying home to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19, many are struggling with a different kind of danger within their own homes.

According to a Center for Disease Control report on domestic violence, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced physically abusive intimate partner violence[1]. Domestic violence incidents typically increase during times of stress. Children are not exempt from these horrific abuses.

When attempting to escape intimate partner violence, many victims wait until they are alone before reaching out for help. When an abuser never leaves for work, that window of opportunity narrows; however, there are still people standing by to provide help, even in the middle of a pandemic. Some therapists and counselors are offering video- and phone-conferencing options to provide remote sessions. Domestic violence shelters remain open, albeit under social-distancing restrictions within safehouses. Many family law attorneys continue to offer phone and video consultations to keep clients and attorneys healthy while addressing clients’ immediate needs.

Court intervention remains an option for those seeking emergency relief from domestic violence. In most larger Texas counties, family courts are temporarily closed except for emergency hearings. Even under these restrictive settings, courts are available to consider applications for protective orders and temporary restraining orders—even as some courts are shifting to an online platform for hearings.

If you are in a situation where family or dating violence has occurred and is likely to occur again, you may qualify for a protective order and should seek legal help. Upon application for a protective order, you may be able to have your partner excluded from your home and ordered to stay away from you—and possibly your children—on a temporary basis until a final hearing. For victims seeking divorce, family law attorneys can ask the court for specific safety measures to remain in place while the divorce is pending.

Service providers have always had hotlines available, but many now offer video-calling or chat services and can provide valuable information about covering your tracks electronically when seeking help online. Below is a list of resources:

  • In the greater Austin area, SAFE (Stop Abuse for Everyone) has a 24-hour hotline at 512-267-7233; you can also chat privately through the SAFE website.
  • In the Dallas area, The Family Place provides assistance to people affected by family violence through a 24-hour crisis hotline at 214-941-1991; they also offer FaceTime calls and confidential counseling via the app.
  • The Genesis Women’s Shelter provides North Texans with emergency shelter and counseling services and has a 24-hour hotline at 214-946-4357.
  • Nationally, the 24/7 National Domestic Violence Hotline provides crisis intervention services at 800-799-7233.

If things are dire, call 911. You may be able to quickly obtain a temporary emergency order of protection through the criminal court system and later apply for a longer-term protective order in civil court.

Please contact a family law attorney at GoransonBain Ausley if you would like more information about seeking help for domestic violence in a divorce or child custody context. We offer virtual and phone consultations during the shelter-in-place and work-safe COVID-19 orders.

[1] National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey,

Popular Family Law Articles

Custodial Parent TexasHow Far Back Can a Hair Follicle Drug Test GoMaximum Child Support in Texas Per Month
Texas Family Law FormsParental Rights During DivorceNegotiation Techniques and Strategies
Autism Child Support After 18How to Start a New Life After DivorceCan a Child Refuse to See a Parent
Step Parent Visitation RightsDivorce Mental IllnessIs It Illegal to Track Someone’s Car Without Their Knowledge
Divorce Mediation vs AttorneyHead of Household DivorceStandard Holiday Possession Texas

Services to Help Solve Your Challenges

Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of family law and will guide you through each step of the process, ensuring you have the information you need to make wise decisions and prepare for the future.

Get in Touch

At Goranson Bain Ausley, we strive to deliver clarity about what comes next and confidence that you and your family’s future are more secure. Contact our team and discover how we can help you.

“I work with clients to move away from the uncertainty of a major life change by creating a plan and road map for a secure future.”

Request A Consultation


Thomas A. Greenwald

Different Roles of a Mental Health Professional in Custody Cases

Partner Thomas Greenwald explains the different roles of a mental health professional during custody cases.


Goranson Bain- children

Curtis W. Harrison

3 Things You Should Not Do In a Divorce

Curtis W Harrison breaks down the three things you should not do in a divorce.


Jeff Domen

Dealing With an Ex Who is an Alcoholic

To some people, the hardest decision they ever have to make is deciding to file for divorce from an alcoholic…


Aimee Pingenot Key

Divorcing Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder

Divorce is difficult for almost any couple but divorcing a spouse with borderline personality disorder may be exponentially more difficult.…


Curtis W. Harrison

Divorcing a Sociopath

“I think I’m losing my mind.” Amy [1] , who as a very bright, sensitive wife and mother of two,…

Related Resources