If we are to be honest, the news right now is downright bleak and depressing. The pandemic is on our Facebook feeds, in our inboxes, on the television 6 feet away, and always on our minds. Domestic violence during COVID19 is on the rise globally, as shutdowns and stay-at-home orders increase relationship stress and trap victims in abusive environments. While this is a difficult and challenging time for survivors and those who serve them, we can’t deny that our hearts are filled by those stepping up to meet the needs of this population. Today, we’re honoring the efforts of those working to keep the lifelines open for survivors, and highlighting 9 stories from around the globe of people supporting survivors of domestic violence during COVID19.
1. Survivor Entrepreneurs Provide COVID Care Packages
Los Angeles based nonprofit, FreeFrom, has been financially empowering survivors of abuse since 2016, and were quick to jump in and fill the gaps in meeting pandemic needs. Evolving into Gifted by FreeFrom, the social enterprise sells handmade products made by survivors. In response to increased rates of domestic violence during COVID19, the organization started offering gift boxes containing two face masks, hand sanitizer, immunity boosting essential oil, and a soap bar.
The best part? 70% of the funds of each care box goes directly to the survivors and entrepreneurs who made them, 15% goes toward hiring survivors at a living wage of $20/hour, and 10% goes toward extended support to help survivor entrepreneurs establish financial security and long-term safety.
Help a survivor directly and support a nonprofit doing great work and check out their shop. Thank you FreeFrom – your work is much appreciated!
2. Dartmouth Students Start Online Store to Raise Money for Those Affected by Domestic Violence
Dartmouth students Sara Cho and Isabelle Chung founded an online lifestyle shop after reading a story in the New York Times about the impact of the pandemic on global domestic violence rates. To help counter the added challenges of the pandemic, the two women teamed up to launch “nullepartout,” an online shop that sells jewelry, apparel and other goods, with 100% of proceeds going to charities. Share your appreciation and support survivors by visiting their shop.
3. Houston Nonprofit Launches Free Pet Boarding Program for Survivors
PetSet just launched a new boarding program called, “Pet Protect,” which allows survivors to board their pets, free of charge, while transitioning to safety.
“We hope that by launching the Pet Protect program, survivors will have peace of mind knowing that they can safely escape with their pet, and their companion will be cared for until the survivor can make their next transition in life.”
Thank you to PetSet for providing a much-needed and often-overlooked service!
4. Florida Judge Unlocks Frozen Assets to Help Survivors Pay Bills During Pandemic
Judge Ronald Flury granted release of $500,000 of the $1.5MiL in frozen assets belonging to the embattled nonprofit domestic violence service provider, the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The funds will be used to pay survivors’ bills and support victims’ services across the state. Many, many thanks to Florida Attorney General, Ashley Moody, attorney Mark Healy, and Judge Flury for getting funds into the hands of survivors when they need it most. View article
5. New York Launches Confidential Website and Text Line for Victims
Under stay-at-home orders, those in abusive living situations essentially become trapped in the abusive environment. With fewer opportunities for interaction with the outside world, the stay-at-home orders essentially cut many victims off from their lifelines. In response to this and the increased rates of domestic violence during COVID19 that came with the shelter-in-place orders, New York has launched a confidential website and text line that survivors can use to reach out for help during the COVID crisis. Any additional lifelines we can get to survivors right now can help, and New York certainly rose to the occasion.
6. Domestic Violence Charity receives half of €1.12 million Donation from J.K. Rowling
Splitting a €1.12MiL donation between two charities, J.K. Rowling donated more than €450,000 to Refuge, a London-based charity serving victims of domestic violence. The contribution was much-needed and came at a time when the already overwhelmed helpline was seeing a 50% spike in calls due to the pandemic.
We agree with Rowling that, “As ever in a crisis of this sort, the poorest and most vulnerable are hit hardest,” and commend her efforts to raise awareness and provide support.
We also want to give a shoutout to Refuge, an ally in the movement to reduce relationship abuse and domestic violence. They’re doing great work in the UK!
7. Centene donates $500,000 to National Domestic Violence Hotline
Healthcare company, Centene, donated $500,000 to the National Domestic Violence Hotline to counter the increased calls and decreased resources caused by the pandemic.
“Through this donation, we want to help the hotline manage the new demand generated by the coronavirus and support their mission to shift power back to those affected by relationship abuse.” – Michael Neidorff, Chairman, President, and CEO of Centene.
Our sincerest gratitude to Mr. Neidorff and his team for the generous contribution to support a critical lifeline for survivors. View press release
8. Allstate Foundation Donates $500,000 in Emergency Funds
Together with National Network to End Domestic Violence, the Allstate Foundation has been focusing on getting emergency funds to smaller domestic violence shelters impacted by the pandemic. The increased need for victim services, coupled with the decreased normal donation funding, means shelters are working harder with fewer resources. Efforts are being made to ensure funding goes to smaller shelters that are having difficulty finding funding during the pandemic. Our hats are off to the foundation for helping out 100 shelters nationwide! View article
9. Rihanna and CEO of Twitter Team up with Los Angeles Mayor
The Clara Lionel Foundation, a charity started by Rihanna, teamed up with Jack Dorsey (CEO of Twitter), pulling together a $4.2MiL grant to the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, “to address a surge in domestic violence” in the region due to the pandemic. The funds will be used to provide 10 weeks of support for survivors, including shelter, meals, and therapy for individuals and their children. Amazing things can happen when people of influence team up to support their communities.
These are just nine examples of people helping survivors, and there are many more. It’s touching to see so many people stepping up to help the vulnerable during a time when it can be challenging just to care for one’s own family. Our heartfelt thanks to everyone working to ensure the invisible aren’t left behind.
If you are interested in learning more from others about domestic violence and getting help, here is a good resource for detailed information.