By Caroline Kitchener: For Entire Post, Click Here…
Until now, hotels requested full names from victims, putting them in danger if an abuser called the front desk.
t happens all the time at hotels: The receptionist answers the phone. Thecaller asks to speak to someone. The receptionist puts the call through to their room.
If the person in the hotel room is a domestic violence victim, the receptionist could be putting her life in danger.
Most domestic violence shelters try to keep a low profile. There is no identifying sign on the door, no address that is easy to Google. Some send ride shares to drop off victims a few blocks away. All of this is done to protect the people who stay there: If the shelter’s location gets out, abusers might come knocking on the door.
Shelters had to shift gears in the pandemic, when the coronavirus made it dangerous to house every victim andtheir family under the same roof. To accommodate health concerns and social distancing requirements, many domestic violence shelters began sending more victims to hotels, motels and other short-term rentals. In Hampton, Va., Transitions Family Violence Services spent $75,000 on additional hotel rooms during the pandemic, said executive director Sanu Dieng — approximately double what it spent the year before.
At hotels, survivors may be less safe than they are in shelter, said Ruth Glenn, chief executive and president of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. When guests check in, hotel staff often insist on seeing their identification and recording their full name. Because hotel staff members are not trained advocates, she said, they probably won’t be on high alert if an abuser calls or walks through the door.