Tri-State advocates worry national phone alert could endanger abuse survivors
COVINGTON, Ky. (WXIX) - A national test of the Emergency Alert System could endanger domestic violence victims, according to a Tri-State organization.
Christy Burch, CEO of the ION Center for Violence Prevention, said the emergency test could expose burner phones that survivors have hidden and are often their only lifelines.
That lifeline could be jeopardized during the test, scheduled for 2:20 p.m. on Wednesday.
“When we talk about intimate partner violence, what it is at the core of it, is power and control,” Burch said. “Somebody who is using abusive tactics is doing everything they can to maintain that power and control so that could mean (victims) don’t have a cellphone or they can always check that cellphone.”
Burch said survivors often hide burner phones in places where a perpetrator won’t find them - cabinets, drawers or getaway bags. The phone is often the only resource for victims when they need help.
Abusers finding the phones during the alert could lead to danger.
“It could cause violence, retribution - that phone can be broken and that lifeline to reach out for support and help could be cut off.”
There are ways for people to avoid the alert, according to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer:
- Turn off the cellphone
- Put it on “airplane mode”
- Use WIFI only
- Smart watches with cellular data service data could also get the alert
If the test is postponed on Wednesday, it will be rescheduled for Oct. 11.
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