All of us at LifeWire hope that you and your loved ones are healthy and safe during this health crisis. We want to share an update about how our services and our survivors are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
LifeWire continues to serve survivors
Thanks to creative planning, technology, and the dedication of our staff, LifeWire is able to offer all of our existing services. Advocates and therapists regularly meet with participants by video or phone, and our support groups have moved online. We are operating our shelter with limited on-site staff and staffing our helpline around the clock.
The need for our services during the COVID-19 pandemic is growing. We have seen an increase in the number of requests for housing assistance and food, as well as safety planning, legal help, and mental health therapy.
Increased tensions and violence in the home
Survivors who live with an abusive partner are at increased risk of violence when everyone is forced to be at home together due to illness or quarantine. This health crisis is forcing extended close contact between abusers, survivors, and their children, for a much longer and more intense duration than any of us have experienced.
Being at home together 24/7 also means that the windows of time when an abuser goes to work or otherwise leaves home – the times when survivors usually reach out for help, support, or make plans to flee – are gone. Control will increase, and survivors will become more isolated if abusers do not permit them to contact friends, family, or other support. Survivors are also anxious about what will happen to their children, especially if the survivor becomes ill and cannot protect or physically care for them.
LifeWire’s Legal Advocates are inundated with requests for help to obtain Domestic Violence Protection Orders from survivors who need to get their abusive partners out of the home or are afraid that their former abuser will find them while they’re isolated at home.
Many of the survivors we work with work have lost income because of illness, lack of child care with schools closed, layoffs, and cut hours. They are worried about how they will pay rent. Since March, survivors have reached out with increased needs for emergency financial assistance, and we expect these needs to continue to grow.
Advocates continue to be as creative as possible. They’re purchasing e-gift cards or online necessities for families who do not have access to safe transportation or have health concerns that keep them from venturing out to obtain necessities such as diapers, wipes, or medicine. We are increasing our use of promissory letters and landlord outreach/education to protect our survivors’ rights.
LifeWire staff continues to do everything they can to provide services and keep life as safe as possible for survivors and their families.
Thank you for your support of LifeWire. We are truly grateful for your partnership, today more than ever!