Good afternoon. Thank you for taking time out of your day to spend a few minutes with me as I share a look back at what the last few weeks have been like for us at the WCA. With your continued support and our amazing staff—we have been able to continue to provide a level of care I am so proud of, to an increasing number of community members in distress from the impact of domestic and sexual abuse.
Just about 10 weeks ago, as the COVID-19 global health pandemic infected Idaho, seeping into the Treasure Valley, bringing fear and trepidation as we heard reports of death rates, job losses and financial collapse worldwide – here at the WCA we were also paying close attention to accounts of rising rates of domestic violence spanning the globe. Unfortunately, calls to our hotlines and client advocates have in fact realized our worst fears. In comparing the number of calls related to domestic violence handled by our team during the first quarter of 2020 as compared to the first quarter of 2019, we saw a 93% increase. When I had the chance to review the information for the month of April, we saw a 194% increase! In April of 2019 our team took 102 DV calls, in 2020 they handled 300. Our call volume for May is even higher.
Keeping our doors open and continuing to provide critical services to those impacted by domestic abuse and sexual assault was always a priority for us–stopping was never an option. We know the dynamics of abuse and that many in our community are impacted each day. This situation, a pandemic with a “stay-home order” and others isolating for health reasons, job losses, children out of school and more—all allow for more individuals to be isolated at home, in unhealthy, abusive and dangerous situations with mounting stress each day. We are thankful that between our team’s commitment to serve and our communities generous financial support, our critical services have continued throughout this challenging time.
We had to work fast and figure out how to continue to provide support and services virtually, at first telephonically and then also via video upgrading to the Zoom Pro, HIPAA compliant platform. Our residential and community clients continued to receive counseling, case management; financial empowerment and client advocacy through alternative delivery—through it all our staff did not miss a beat.
When the Ada County Courthouse closed to the public on a Friday afternoon, the WCA as a whole pivoted immediately and the Court Advocacy team was ready to assist with filing civil protection orders at our downtown Crisis Center by Monday morning. Still today, the team helps those seeking domestic violence and stalking civil protection orders file paperwork electronically as well as supports them over video and telephonically with their emergency and two-week hearings. The team also offers safety planning and legal referrals both telephonically and in person at the Crisis Center.
In addition to the increased number of calls, we have also seen a significant increase in the number of emergency intakes into our secure emergency domestic violence shelter—which means the lethality risk is so high for these clients that they bypass any waitlist and get right into shelter as quickly as possible. For perspective, last year we averaged one emergency intake into shelter a quarter. Right now, we are averaging one per week.
The support of our community has been immediate and humbling. As we look to the next few months we know that the need will only continue to increase and we are hopeful that our community will continue to be there for our clients so that we cannot just maintain but increase our services to meet the demand we know is coming.
Are you or someone you know being abused? You are not alone. Please help spread the word about our 24-hour hotline (208.343.7025) and our free, confidential services being available for all those who might need information and support.
- Home is not always safe. If you are worried about someone, check on them. Offer support and resources, but don’t be frustrated when they don’t make the choices you think they should make in a timeframe of your choosing. Try to understand that leaving an unhealthy or abuse relationship is often very complicated and there are many reasons/barriers to an individual leaving.
- Check out our Facebook Live sessions each Monday and Wednesday at Noon for helpful information and tips on mindfulness, WCA updates and meet some of our staff virtually.
Back to Blog >>