Domestic violence cases continue to rise with pandemic, valley resources are available

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Experts say this year it’s especially important to shed light on the problem with studies showing an increase in domestic violence during the pandemic.

Madison Weil, of News Channel 3, spoke to the executive directors of the three organizations in the valley dedicated to helping victims of abuse or assault.

“I think right now … domestic violence has become more serious. The abuse has become more impactful, ”said Angelina Coe, Executive Director, Shelter from the Storm.

Coe explains his organization, Sheltered from the storm, provides emergency shelter to victims in need.

“The psychological and financial abuse has increased tenfold,” she said.

Coe is a survivor herself. She shared her own experience which led her to help others.

“Everyone said ‘he was a great boyfriend.’ At first he was nice… but then it became a stalking issue, ”she said.

Coe says the relationship quickly turned. Her boyfriend sexually assaulted her.

“At the time, in the 90s, it was not acceptable to say that my boyfriend had raped me. Because ‘he’s your boyfriend,’ “she said.

She says that the assault was a turning point in her life. Her father helped her out of this abusive relationship.

“The question he asked me was… do you want to stay in this relationship? And the first thing I thought about was no, ”she said.

But she says not everyone has a family lifeline. His organization now works in close collaboration with another organization in the valley: Partners Against Violence (formerly known as Coachella Valley Sexual Assault Services).

Partners Against Violence has a 24-hour hotline that victims can call if they need help (hotline numbers listed below).

“Survivors or anyone in their support system can ask for options. We provide advocacy and support services during the forensic examination, ”said Sarah Shook, program director, Partners Against Violence.

Safe family justice centers is another local resource – a one-stop-shop that helps victims from the initial disclosure of the abuse to the legal process.

“When the pandemic hit, it made it a situation where he wasn’t sure whether to think about leaving,” said Katie Gilbertson, executive director, Safe Family Justice Centers.

All three groups say their cases have increased since the start of the pandemic. This is a trend observed nationally.

According to the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice, unemployment, stress, financial insecurity, as well as alcohol and drug use have all increased during COVID, potentially increasing the threat of abuse.

Their unified message to victims: ask for help.

“You are not alone. It is not your fault. There is help for you,” Gilbertson said.

“We’re here to help victims become survivors … and survivors continue to thrive,” Coe added.

All three organizations say they need volunteers and donations to meet the growing demand they see.

SHELTER FROM THE STORM:

Domestic violence emergency crisis hotline numbers:

(760) 328-CUR (7233)

Toll free (800) 775-6055

Visit their website: https://www.shelterfromthestorm.com/

PARTNERS AGAINST VIOLENCE:

24-hour hotline: (760) 568-9071

Visit their website: https://www.partnersagainstviolence.org/

SECURE FAMILY JUSTICE CENTERS:

Location: County Law Building, 82-995 Highway 111, Suite 103, Indio, CA 92201

Telephone: (760) 863-8363

Visit their website: https://safefjc.org/

Like them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SAFEFamilyJusticeCenters

Follow them on Instagram: @SAFEFJC_RIVCO

Looking to support local families this holiday season? See their Thanksgiving and Xmas Wish list

Link to their Amazon Wish List: https://smile.amazon.com/hz/charitylist/ls/38XQ50IOZI1QI/ref=smi_cl_dp_lcl_cl?ref_=smi_se_cl_rd_cl


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