Survivors isolated with abusers because of coronavirus can now text for help

Hubbard House introduces text option, plans to keep it permanently

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For some families, being stuck inside together during the coronavirus pandemic is stressful and inconvenient.

But for others who are in abusive relationships, it could actually be dangerous.

Those who might want to reach out to services, like the Hubbard House domestic violence hotline, might not have a safe way to do that because they are stuck with their abuser.

RELATED: Stay-at-home orders fuel concerns about domestic violence & abuse

That's why Hubbard House is now offering a text messaging option for those who need help.

Survivors can call 904-354-3114 or text 904-210-3698 to confidentially connect with an advocate and receive support, plan for safety or access Hubbard House’s life-saving and life-changing emergency shelter and services, the organization said.

“We know that many survivors are currently isolated with their abusers, so calling the traditional Hubbard House Domestic Violence Hotline just isn’t an option for them,” explained Hubbard House CEO Dr. Gail Patin. “The 24/7 text option will allow survivors to reach out when they are safest, and in a discreet and potentially safer way.”

To utilize the text messaging service, a survivor can text 904-210-3698 with a conversation starter, like “I need help” or “I’m not sure if I need help.” An advocate will reply, provide support and help the survivor assess available options, like staying in place with a safety plan or coming into the Hubbard House emergency shelter.

Safety is always a concern, so survivors who utilize Hubbard House’s 24/7 Domestic Hotline, by telephone or text, are urged to exercise caution.

If a survivor saves either number in their phone, they should do so under a person's name, for example.

Survivors may also want to delete their text conversations with advocates to avoid having communications intercepted by an abuser.

“Text messaging provides Hubbard House with a new way to discreetly, anonymously and confidentially deliver help and hope to survivors,” said Patin. “It will help them to connect with caring experts and receive the help they need when they need it most."

Last year, the Hubbard House 24/7 Domestic Violence Hotline answered more than 2,500 crisis calls from survivors living in its service area, Duval and Baker counties, the organization said.

Hubbard House said the text option was put in place because of the need to be creative during COVID-19 isolation, but it will remain available permanently.

If you or someone you know is or has been a victim of domestic violence or abuse, in addition to Hubbard House for Duval and Baker counties, the following resources are available in the Northeast Florida area:

  • The Florida Domestic Violence Hotline, which will direct you to the nearest shelter: 1-800-500-1119
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline is open 24 hours a day: 1-800-799-SAFE
  • Family Life Center (Flagler County): or 386-437-3505
  • Micah’s Place (Nassau County): or 904-225-9979
  • Betty Griffin Center (St. Johns County): or 904-824-1555
  • Quigley House (Clay County): or 904-284-0061
  • Lee Conlee House (Putnam County): or 386-325-3141
  • Peaceful Paths (Bradford, Alachua & Union counties): or 352-377-8255

The Women’s Center of Jacksonville is the only certified rape crisis center for Duval, Baker and Nassau counties and is also available to help. Their 24-hour rape crisis hotline is 904-721-7273.

About the Author:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.