The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed costs on all of society. As is often the case, the cost is even higher on the vulnerable.
For people living in homes with domestic violence, isolation may not only increase their danger but make it harder for them to reach out for help. The stress of isolation has increased incidents of violence as evidenced by data collected locally.
The Richmond Metro Area has seen a 7% increase in domestic violence incidents from January through mid-April. According to the World Health Organization, sexual and domestic violence programs have seen a 30%-40% increase in demand for services after the passing of this crisis.
As the need for services increases, many organizations serving survivors may struggle to meet the need. Safe Harbor is still here.
- Still counseling survivors using a HIPPA-compliant telehealth system.
- Still reaching and staying in touch through phone check-ins, emails, and a “text to get help” number.
- Still offering virtual support groups for several underserved populations including men and Latinx survivors.
- Still sheltering those in need using hotels when necessary.
- Still answering hotline calls.
- Still helping clients with safety planning.
- Still providing case management.
- And crucially in a time with huge economic setbacks, still providing critical resources such as food and personal care items.
Children are also more vulnerable now to violence at home. Most abuse to children is identified and reported through schools. The closure of schools has left some children without recourse. But Safe Harbor is still here. Still providing individual therapeutic counseling and support groups safely and effectively through a virtual telehealth system.
And Safe Harbor will be here when the stay-at-home order is lifted. We anticipate a surge in requests for services once clients can seek help more easily, no longer isolated with an abuser. We will be here to provide counseling, shelter, court advocacy, hospital accompaniment, case management, and critical resources.
But crucially, we need support from people in our community who can help.
With a full understanding of the hardships imposed by COVID-19 on so many, we ask those of you that can help for your support. #GivingTuesdayNow is an opportunity to partner with us to rebuild the lives of survivors. It’s a global day of giving and unity, set to take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.
Here are ways you can support survivors:
(1) Any financial contribution you make will go directly to support services to rebuild the lives of survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence. Click safeharborshelter.com/donate to donate.
(2) We encourage people who would like to help to mail Kroger gift cards that can be used to purchase food and cleaning supplies for clients to: Safe Harbor, 2006 Bremo Rd., Suite 201, Richmond, VA 23226. Visit this link to purchase gift cards, https://giftcards.kroger.com/our-store-cards/kroger.
On May 5, 2020, #GivingTuesdayNow, Safe Harbor is asking you to be here for us. So, we can be here for survivors now and always.