During the month of October, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, WGA focuses on domestic violence in our community and discusses this with one of our grantees, Hubbard House, a full-service certified domestic violence shelter serving Duval and Baker counties. A type of pandemic of its own, the problem of domestic violence has been exacerbated by COVID-19.
“There was a roughly 8% increase in the number of domestic violence-related offenses reported in Duval County in 2020,” says Gail Patin, CEO of WGA grantee Hubbard House, “but we believe the increase is actually even higher, because of likely underreporting relating to quarantine measures.”
Gail noted that their agency instituted a 24/7 “Text line” for those who might not be able to phone for help in an emergency. “Quarantine measures were used to promote public health, but they also led to survivors and abusers being together for extended periods of time,” she said. “A person who needs help might be able to text more discreetly than calling.”
Hubbard House’s Outreach Center had to adapt by meeting virtually with clients who do not need emergency shelter. If a survivor isn’t comfortable in public because of Covid risks, he or she can still get support. This has, incidentally, also been a great new resource for survivors who have transportation or childcare challenges that make it difficult to meet in person. “Virtual meetings have also been a great new resource for survivors who have transportation or childcare challenges that make it difficult to meet in person,” Gail said.
Domestic Violence services are provided in all the counties Women’s Giving Alliance serves. Some of these we know well, some have received WGA grants, and others we are just getting to know. Help and more information can be found here: