To continuously meet the needs of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, United Way of the Ozarks has provided extra funding to our partners, like the Victim Center, through the Coronavirus Response Fund. Their mission is to “foster safety and health in our communities by walking with victims along their journey from trauma and tragedy to hope and healing.” Domestic violence was an epidemic before the current COVID-19 health crisis, but it has caused spikes in incidents of abuse. Though lockdown restrictions have been slowly lifted, the abuse will not simply end.
In April of 2020, the Victim Center reported about a 40% drop in calls for help in a two-week time period. Numerous organizations in the Ozarks saw this decline in hotline calls as well, which worried advocates about lockdowns and isolations and how this would impact domestic abuse. We allocated $4,500 to the Victim Center to ensure that they were able to address their immediate needs. This allocation allowed for the Victim Center team to expand their online platform, as well as reach out to individuals in our community to ensure safety and security.
The Victim Center broadened their use of social media during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to stay connected to our community. The National Network to End Domestic Violence shared this graphic to encourage intervention with friends experiencing domestic abuse during COVID-19. The Victim Center has been actively promoting essential resources through their social media platforms during this time of virtual communication.
This past February, the Victim Center started a new expansion that will grow their space by 50% more than their current location on Boonville Avenue. With all of the new space, they will be able to create more therapy rooms and host more volunteers and new staff. This new expansion will give the Victim Center the ability to reach and advocate for more community members than ever before. This building will be ready in June and you can read more about this project at KY3.
The Victim Center’s 24-hour crisis response line is open, offering phone support at 417.864.7233. The Victim Center continues to serve as a safe place in our community. They continue to advocate and in facing this health crisis, have grown stronger and even more motivated to foster a “community in which individuals live free of violence and corresponding trauma.”
JOIN THE FIGHT AND LIVE UNITED!
Stay tuned to our blog as we publish a “good news” story each week detailing the ways our community has risen to the pandemic’s challenge to LIVE UNITED. You can also sign up to receive our monthly newsletter to stay connected to the work United Way of the Ozarks is doing to make a difference in our community.
United Way of the Ozarks is committed to supporting our nonprofit community throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.