These days we are all very focused on staying informed, practicing social distancing and taking care of ourselves and our families. While this has been a most unique time in our lives and we may struggle with all of the unknowns and seclusion, Family Violence Prevention Center (FVPC) has been working steadily to provide flexible services over the phone and in person with safety in mind, always.
Many of our followers and those tuning into the daily updates from our state leaders have heard that staying at home is not safe for all people. Gov. Mike DeWine also made it clear that victims of interpersonal violence were exempt from the stay at home order that was in effect in March and April. We are very grateful for our governor’s insight and we worked swiftly to make sure we could step up to continue providing the hotline and safe house services while providing a clean, sanitary and safe environment.
The essential staff includes all of our safe house crisis intervention specialists, kitchen coordinator and their supervisors. They have risen to the daily tasks without as much daily support from the case management, volunteers, operations and clinical staff. They now take temperatures, check for symptoms and offer support surrounding domestic violence, sexual assault and this virus. They jumped right in and realized we needed to reduce the number of people eating meals at once. Social distancing practices required us to start staggering meal times.
We then moved on to thinking about what it would be like to be a victim in quarantine with their abusive partner. It’s likely not easy to make a telephone call with less privacy or breaks. This realization led to the creation and marketing of our Google text line.
While our safe house advocates are consistently sanitizing and kindly prompting all the residents to wash hands, some staff are working remotely and working in unforeseen ways. We are offering telehealth counseling and case management. Our survivors have expressed how grateful and comforted they are knowing our staff continues to be there for them. They all had “stuff” they were working on before the coronavirus and now new layers have been added. We are fortunate that we had all the technology required and the support available to make this adjustment so rapidly.
If you follow us on social media, you are aware that we altered our spring awareness events, creating virtual options instead of cancelling. We knew that the matters were still important, maybe even more so during the quarantine. Our Superhero 5K for Child Abuse Prevention had 120 plus participants and raised more than $770 in donations alone. We thank “Can’t Stop Timing” for its prompt support in this decision process to go virtual. Our “Take Back The Night” event was planned to occur at the Coffee Hub in Xenia. We wish to thank them for their willingness to host, but we did this virtually also via the Facebook event platform. All the information was shared about our rape crisis services and general statistics as well as messages of support. Xenia Mayor Sarah Mays joined us at the beginning to offer her respect and support of survivors.
Now, we move on to our “Direct Call to Action” which is taking the place of our “Spring Fling” fund-raiser. When the coronavirus and the social distancing guidelines continued on, we made the tough but responsible decision to cancel and create a new plan. We have counted on the revenue within our budget and we hope to raise the money from those that would have attended, by simply sending the financial support to us, without having to leave home. We realize leaving home sounds nice right about now, but the health of our community members mean more to us than trying to host or reschedule a gathering.
Our fund-raising goal is $40,000 from this “stay at home” fundraiser, thus the creation of the slogan #40Kin30days. We will be encouraging donations the entire month of May. If you have questions and would like to find out how you can give and add to our abilities to respond to survivors in these innovative ways, please contact Lizz Comer at E[email protected] or go the FVPC website at www.violencefreefutures.org.
We wish to note all of the generous offerings of hope we have received since March. Unfortunately, this will not be an inclusive list but we must mention that the following have all given in tremendous ways. Serco Foundation has chosen us to receive a gift of $4,976 with no strings attached, Key-Ads offered us digital marketing space at no cost, Cohhio donated a brand new Samsung Galaxy Tablet, an unknown source gave us their stimulus check, multiple sources have donated facial coverings and hand sanitizer and the 100 Women in Greene County sent money in when we need it the most.
Please keep survivors of interpersonal violence in mind as we all begin moving around again. Our agency does believe that with the restarting of Ohio, safe opportunities will be present again for victims to reach out. We are gearing up and will be there.
Harmony Thoma is the community relations coordinator at Family Violence Prevention Center.