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How to stand up for victims and survivors of domestic violence during the coronavirus



What to do: Contact the drive coordinator for the nonprofit Secure the Call at 301-891-2900 or info@securethecall.org. They have everything you need in a virtual phone drive, including a press release to email your co-workers, family, and friends, and shipping supplies so everyone can safely ship their phones. You can also contact your local coalition to see if they can support an action. Many advocacy centers and emergency shelters are constantly accepting donations by phone.

5. Send money, gift cards, or accessories.

Currently, some advocacy organizations are helping people stay safe and access everyday needs while they seek shelter on site, and others are helping survivors work through the logistics of starting over or moving to a new home. In both cases, donations can help. If you have space in your budget or have carefully stored used items, check out the wish list of your local advocacy center or shelter and donate online or at a drop-off point. You can̵

7;t go wrong with a Visa gift card, Atkins says. Frequently requested items include high quality face masks, hand sanitizers, menstrual products, diapers, baby wipes, children’s toys and clothes, and furniture to fill a new room.

6. Start training for volunteer and staff positions virtually.

There is a great demand for volunteers and staff working for emergency shelters, answering hotline calls and supporting support groups. However, if you are interested in any of the above, you will need to complete government-mandated training. What exactly this means depends on where you live. However, the standard course includes 32 to 40 hours of virtual or in-person training that covers a range of topics including the history of domestic violence advocacy, the dynamics of domestic violence and your role as an attorney, safety planning and self-care, says Nicholas.

Contact your local coalition to learn more about the process and to register for a meeting. At the time of reporting, some programs like the StrongHearts Native Helpline, a free, anonymous helpline for Indians affected by domestic violence, are already offering 100% online courses and – for the foreseeable future – completely remote jobs, says Elizabeth Carr, senior Native Affairs Advisor for the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC).

7. Help survivors take control of their finances.

According to a 2018 survey by the Institute of Women’s Policy Research, nearly three in four domestic violence survivors stay with their partner or sometimes return to them for years due to financial difficulties. To help survivors move forward, volunteer to take them through a financial empowerment course – many coalitions already have the curriculum ready for you, says Nicholas.

8. Take care of a temporarily evicted pet.

Victims and survivors often have difficulty leaving domestic violence situations or stay in them because of legitimate concerns about the safety of their pet or the inability to secure shelter for them. This is even more of a challenge during COVID-19. But there are roughly 1,400 safe havens in the US that provide pets with a safe place in animal shelters, veterinary practices, or nursing homes. To serve as a hiker, babysitter, or foster parent, contact a safe haven near you. If there isn’t one, be sure to ask your veterinarian or advocacy center if they’re willing to start one available, Phil Arkow, coordinator for the National Resource Center’s Animal Abuse and Human Violence Link, told SELF.

9. Advocate for laws that support victims and survivors.

“We need dedicated activists to respond to the call when we ask that Congress protect survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault during the pandemic,” Deborah J. Vagins, President and CEO of NNEDV, told SELF. Here’s how: Sign up for action notifications to stay tuned, and bookmark the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (NTF) news page for regular call scripting toolkits Comments and letters are shared on the editor templates, sample emails and more.

10. Share your story (if you want).

If you are a survivor, telling your story can be a powerful way to win your voice back, educate others about the realities of domestic violence, and build solidarity with other survivors, says Bessie McManus, development and volunteer coordinator at Steps to End Domestic Violence in Burlington , VT. Have a one-on-one conversation with a loved one, post anonymously with the help of a coalition, channel it into poetry or art, or submit a blog post, personal essay, or video to break the silence on domestic violence From Survivor-run non-profit organization with a mission to empower others to speak.

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