During the last year, we know that many people were not able to be “safer at home”. For victims of domestic and sexual violence, prolonged isolation with their abuser, with no respite of work, put them at greater risk for increased and escalating violence. As a result, HAVEN saw increases in support calls, requests for shelter and long-term housing, and court and restraining order assistance. What HAVEN and other community partners were not seeing, was an increase in reports of child abuse. Although children, especially in homes with financial, emotional, and environmental hardships, were also at an increased risk for witnessing domestic violence and being victimized, reports of child abuse initially went down. Our greatest fear was that this was due to fewer supportive adults having eyes on kids. With the stay at home order and kids attending school remotely, HAVEN had to temporarily suspend our in-person K-12 prevention programs.
However, as children went back into school and had access to trusted adults, child abuse reports spiked and HAVEN saw an immediate increase in children and families in need of support. As restrictions continue to ease, victims of assault and abuse are coming forward to get the life changing help they need to rebuild their lives. The reasons to invest in prevention are even greater as these instances rise. Now, more than ever, HAVEN’s prevention programming that addresses trauma is needed in every classroom. Trainings for teachers and schools staff so that they can recognize abuse and respond appropriately to disclosures is critical.
Please consider a gift today that allows HAVEN to continue keeping kids safe.