This is such an uncertain and frightening time.
I’m writing to you about taking care of one another - our families, our neighbors, and friends - at a time when doing so is tremendously difficult.
“Social distancing” has become the new normal for most of us as we deal with the growing threat of COVID-19. It is critical to mitigating the spread of this pandemic. And it’s incredibly hard. Many of us are experiencing frustration and isolation as we adjust to this radically different flow to our days. Many businesses have transitioned to remote work, reduced staffing, or closed altogether, causing financial hardship across our communities as the employees are unable to report to work.
Until we get through the crisis that the pandemic has created, caring for one another must be our focus. Safe Passage’s priorities - to keep marginalized and vulnerable people safe and healthy while prioritizing the safety of our staff and volunteers - are clearer than ever.
Here’s what we want you to know about how survivors of domestic violence are uniquely impacted by the pandemic:
- Decreased contact with friends and family may elevate feelings of isolation.
- Uncertainty about finances and health status can lead to higher levels of stress.
- People have reduced access to usual resources such as their faith communities, children’s schools, basic needs assistance, and health and mental health systems.
All of these factors can exacerbate domestic violence. It’s a perfect storm of factors that can lead to increased risk.
Survivors are skilled at strategizing how to keep themselves and their children safe. But adhering to social distancing means they now face an increased likelihood of escalated violence, coercion, and threats. Abusers may even use COVID-19 as a tool to maintain power and control.
This pandemic requires organizations like ours to approach our work with even deeper understanding, flexibility, and empathy. For survivors who are now in close contact with their abusers, the additional stressors in all our lives – children home from school, adults home from work, possible financial pressures, uncertainty and fear about the future – are dangerous.
Please know that Safe Passage remains committed to providing support and safety to our community. Although the way we do our work is changing rapidly, we are here for survivors and our community, now more than ever.
While we can’t be together in person, we want to stay connected with you. Here’s some information we want you to know:
- Stay connected to our website, Facebook, and Twitter for real-time service updates.
- Visit our blog for an upcoming series where we will be sharing information and resources to support survivors and community members during the COVID pandemic.
- Call our hotline at 413-586-5066 or 888-345-5282 (toll-free) Monday-Friday from 11am-7pm to speak to an advocate.
- Call The National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233) 24-hours a day. They also offer 24-hour chat option on their website.
For over forty years, Safe Passage has provided safety, hope, and healing for survivors in our community. In this crisis, we are grateful to be a part of a supportive and engaged community of people who are eager to support survivors in their lives. We feel honored to stand alongside our colleagues across the state, working together to ensure that survivors have access to safety planning, support, and advocacy.
And we remain as committed as ever to ensuring survivors receive the critical support and services that they need, especially in a time of increased risk, uncertainty, and fear. We are here for you.