By John Smist | May 5, 2020 at 10:14 PM EDT – Updated May 5 at 11:16 PM
LELAND, N.C. (WECT) – Domestic violence has skyrocketed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and one of the biggest challenges victims face in leaving is the cost of moving.
“If you, unfortunately, find yourself in a situation with domestic violence, work with a local shelter and the shelter will then contact our Tampa headquarters and they will contact us and will be very happy to help you get to a safe place,” said Jeff Moss of College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving.
The movers doing all of the work free of charge for the victims.
“Right now, with COVID-19, this is a very stressful situation on everybody,” said Moss. “Now imagine being the individual that’s being abused and feel like you have no way out. We have the opportunity now to get these people in a safe haven.”
While domestic violence shelters have seen an uptick in calls, the Wilmington Police Department, New Hanover and Brunswick county sheriff’s departments say they have not.
Mandy Houvouras with the Domestic Violence Shelter in Wilmington says many victims are too afraid to call 911 and believe it will make matters worse.
“Unfortunately, violence can escalate sometimes when that happens, that’s why it’s so important for individuals to reach out and speak with an advocate directly,” said Houvouras. “We can help make individualized safety plans and connect them with those lifesaving services like law enforcement, like protective orders.”
Moss says all information is confidential. For them, it’s all about helping someone who just needs a little support to make that move.
“You go in and you’re moving somebody out of [their] abusive situation, not only do they need respect,” said Moss. “But they deserve respect. They also deserve confidentiality. Nobody wants this kind of thing out there. And they don’t want their business known. And working through an accredited facility that knows how to handle the process that’s the approach that we’re taking and we’re not doing this fly by night.”
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