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COVID-19: Agencies Help Survivors Cope with Domestic Abuse

The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown have unintended consequences. And that includes changes in the safety and support networks of many victims of domestic violence.

Michelle O'Neill has more. 

The Rock Island County Sheriff reports no significant change in the number of domestic violence calls from the first part of the year comparted to March and April. That's when many people started staying home or began working from home.

Janet Wolfe, founder of Grow Ministries based in Cambridge, says requests for help jumped 75%. It's not because of domestic violence. Instead, police and other law enforcement officials are letting women out of jail and prison. And they need somewhere to stay. 

Christian Care, 2209 3rd Avenue in Rock Island
Credit WVIK News / WVIK News
Christian Care and its men's shelter in Rock Island, IL (file)

Jennifer Hill, from Christian Care's Rescue Mission in Rock Island, says domestic abuse is also affecting men during the pandemic.

One young man left an abusive home during the pandemic and went to live at the men's shelter. Since then, he has gotten a job and an apartment.

Family Resources provides resources to survivors of domestic violence.
Family Resources (file)

Ali B., Survivor Services Supervisor at Family Resources, says the number of calls for help with domestic violence have remained stable for her agency, except for a slight increase in June.

But clients are having more difficulty getting support from family and friends because of COVID-19.

And they may lack financial resources because of lost hours or lost jobs. Family Resources has switched to virtual counseling and help for clients dealing with domestic violence.

But Ali B. says staff members continue to provide in-person service when needed in hospitals, police stations, and the courts.

Family Resources operates crisis hotlines 24 hours a day in the Illinois Quad Cities at 309.797.1777 and in Iowa at 866.921.3354.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1.800.799.7233. 


Officially, Michelle's title is WVIK News Editor which really just means she wears many hats, doing everything there is to do in the newsroom and around the radio station. She's a multimedia journalist and serves as Assignment Editor, reporter, radio news producer, copy editor, announcer, news anchor/host, and photographer. She also writes and produces content for WVIK.org and social media and trains interns.
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