By: Matt Mirarchi, Director of Advancement

As many regions across the U.S. endure extreme temperatures stemming from climate change, we must recognize the correlation between climatic shifts and domestic violence (DV).

Nationwide, DV agencies often report an increased incidence of DV and intimate partner violence (IPV) during the summer. And, as such, many DV survivors residing with abusive partners come to dread the hot season—and how it exacerbates the frequency and severity of ongoing violence.

Despite popular opinion about summer being a respite for relaxation, we know that abusers’ coercive control never takes a vacation—because the power and control that underpin abuse remain constant. And Enlace is committed to stemming the impact of abuse through survivor-centered support.

Over the past several years, as climate change becomes a glaring hallmark of seasonal, record-shattering temperature fluctuations, there is more awareness being paid to how climate change is inextricably linked to DV—especially as it relates to DV incidence among immigrant and Indigenous womxn.

As we’ve witnessed with COVID-19, public health crises—which, on a macro level, are linked with climate change—reveal services gaps for marginalized populations, including Enlace’s survivor community. Our community members frequently encounter barriers to accessing health care, housing and financial resources, and nutritious, culturally appropriate food—barriers that climate change only serves to increase without proactive, decisive action at multiple policy levels. On each of these fronts, Enlace is working to frame strategies for meeting clients’ long-term needs—stemming from compounded public health and economic crises that continue to exacerbate systemic racial inequities affecting immigrant communities.

We recognize climate change as a structural determinant of health—one that will continue to disproportionately impact and undermine the health and wellbeing of immigrant DV survivors. But within this challenging context, Enlace is reminded that, together, we can build a sustainable future—one led by survivors. 

Enlace encourages survivors who are currently with an abusive partner to consider reaching out to our trained DV advocates to discuss their options—be it developing a safety plan, learning about temporary housing options, obtaining an order of protection, or participating in a confidential support group.