While the shelter in place mandate is difficult enough for most people, there is a section of the population that is particularly hard hit by this aspect of the COVID-19 crisis— those vulnerable to domestic violence. YWCA Northwest Ohio wants to remind the public that if you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, their shelter is still providing a safe space and support for those in need of it.
“Obviously sheltering in place is meant to keep citizens safe,” says Lisa McDuffie, president and CEO of YWCA Northwest Ohio. “But if you are in a domestic violence relationship, you essentially are put in harm’s way. There’s opportunity for the perpetrator to have access to you now behind a closed door, around the clock.”
McDuffie stresses that the YWCA still has rooms available for people in this situation and, for those who have health concerns about communal living, she’d like to ease their minds.
“What we are doing is not doubling up families,” she says. “So you essentially would be in a private room. If for any reason people are still afraid, there are alternatives we can help them with.”
McDuffie also points out that the crisis line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you call, someone will arrange to pick you up from the safest location possible, or, if you can’t get away from an abuser to speak to someone on the line, you can dial the number without speaking. The staff on the line will call 911 for you.
To seek help, call the domestic violence shelter’s crisis and information line at 419-241-7386 or 888-341-7486.
For other valuable resources— how to recognize signs that you are a victim of abuse, information on support groups, and the organization’s donation wish list— visit ywcanwo.org.