Supporting Survivors in Uncertain Times
How WEAVE is Responding to Coronavirus Outbreak
In these uncertain times, we at WEAVE have never felt the need to adapt so quickly and make decisions with far-reaching impact like we have in the past two weeks.
When the likelihood of shelter in place orders first emerged, I pulled our leadership team together to brainstorm. What emerged was clear ideas of how victims of domestic and sexual violence might be impacted and how we could best respond. Every day we learn more and we continue to adjust our service delivery and our staffing.
When faced with the need to transform our operations within hours, we were ready.
We expanded staffing on our 24/7 Support & Information Line. We know the longer victims are isolated at home with their abusers, the greater the likelihood of violence. Callers are telling us about the added tension in their relationships and they are worried about their kids. We are working with each caller to identify safety steps and to reassure them we are here to support them.
We launched online chat. This was a project in progress when the Coronavirus hit so we prioritized testing and launching this new service. Victims can access chat during scheduled hours via our website on a desktop or mobile device. It’s an option for those who may not feel safe calling. We will continue to train staff and expand its availability.
We transitioned to remote services. While we knew we would need to temporarily suspend in person services, we equipped our Counselors, Advocates, and Attorneys with the tools they need to work remotely. It’s not ideal but allows us to continue to be there for survivors. Clients are grateful to still have support and not have to risk exposure by leaving their homes or coming into a public office. This is also keeping our employees healthy by dramatically reducing the number of staff reporting to work.
We adapted our shelter services to emphasize telephone support. Our Safehouse and Transitional Housing programs still have staff onsite but we are limiting person to person contact. Residents are grateful to have a safe space that allows them to shelter in place. We’ve been able to adapt to enable survivors to work remotely from the shelters, as well.
Our Prevention Education team is working to adapt our classroom curricula to online versions. We will be sharing these in the coming days. This allows us to place resources on social media that support vulnerable families as well as tools for talking about healthy relationships and consent for families sheltering in place together.
I am proud of the team at WEAVE and how we continue to respond but these changes come with a lot of added stress and concern for all of us. I am grateful to our community for standing by us by offering emotional and financial support to us and the people we serve during these unpredictable times. It is your support that gave us the flexibility to quickly respond to this challenge. It is your faith in us that will see us through this pandemic and an uncertain future.