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Domestic And Sexual Violence Groups Still Operating Despite Coronavirus Pandemic

Domestic and sexual violence groups are continuing to provide services to survivors of abuse, despite the coronavirus pandemic. And that’s important to know, because it’s times like these when there can be a spike in abuse.

Tasha Menaker is the CEO of the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. She says all of the shelters and programs are still operating, however most programs and services may be modified or provided in other ways because of the coronavirus. And some shelters are carving out room for survivors who might need to be isolated at some point. 

In fact, Catholic Charities has adapted a domestic violence shelter in the East Valley to accommodate clients who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been diagnosed with the disease. Dawn Curtis is a leader at My Sister’s Place. She says one of their transitional homes had recently become vacant.

"You know, we can get them over there, bring them food, we can still do all case management over the phone, we can still provide the services but allow them to be away from the other clients as to not to create a bigger issue here at the shelter," she said.
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Curtis says economics consistently plays a role when it comes to domestic violence. She says financial abuse is one type of abuse that can occur if there are job losses or other economic issues.

Menaker agrees. 

"At the coalition on our helpline we have seen an increase in calls to us would save about 10 to 15% at this time, and it's really varied across the state," she says.

In fact, Menaker says some programs have seen a decrease in calls, but says it could be because survivors might not know groups like hers are still operating, or they may not have access to phones. Menaker is calling on the community to keep an eye out for possible abuse. She suggests checking in on neighbors, especially those who might already be vulnerable like an older adult or a person with a disability.

Below is a list of services (information provided by the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence):

For People with Disabilities and Older Adults:

Multilingual Resources:

Legal Resources in Arizona:

KJZZ senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.