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The link between disasters and domestic violence

After a disaster such as Hurricane Harvey, victims of domestic violence may be more at risk. The risk of domestic violence may increase after a disaster in California or elsewhere because of the stress it places on people. Stress is generally the result of injuries or seeing others die, and it may also be caused by a lack of access to basic needs like food, water or adequate housing.

Incorporating help for victims of domestic violence may be appropriate as part of a larger disaster recovery effort. For instance, as part of the response just after a disaster strikes, emergency personnel can provide victims with resources and additional contacts. As the emergency response process evolves from the response to the recovery phase, victims of domestic violence should be connected to long-term services and support within the community.

Law enforcement and other leaders in the community should work to build relationships with domestic abuse victims. This may make it easier for professionals to identify what abuse victims need and advocate for more funds or other resources to help combat the problem. Ideally, outreach will be combined with training programs that help first responders and others in the community better meet victim's needs in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster.

Domestic violence may involve many different parties. In some cases, it could involve a husband hitting a wife or a girlfriend striking her boyfriend. It could also involve parents hurting their children. If an individual is the victim of such violence, it may be possible to get a restraining order. When a minor is the victim, a parent or guardian may pursue an order on the victim's behalf.

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