For Immediate Release: April 29, 2020
ALBANY — During this time of crisis, sexual violence, domestic violence, and child abuse will continue to occur – most likely at increased rates than ever before. The New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Seven Dancers Coalition, and Prevent Child Abuse New York encourage New Yorkers to support their friends, family members, or colleagues whenever they seek help.
Organizations that assist victims and survivors – including domestic violence programs, rape crisis programs, and sexual assault examiner programs – have been deemed “essential services” and are open and accessible for all individuals needing assistance during the NY on PAUSE program. The statewide child abuse hotline (1-800-342-3720) and statewide hotline for sexual assault and domestic violence (1-800-942-6906) are operating 24/7, as are several local hotlines throughout the state. Advocates have shifted to offer services to clients remotely, including tele-counseling, video platforms, text/chat features, etc.
“Individuals, children and adults are all at elevated risk during this unprecedented time. Friends, family, neighbors, and supporting connections play an important role in keeping us all connected and safe. Reach out, connect, help, and be helped,” said Tim Hathaway, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse New York, the only private, nonprofit agency serving the entire state whose single mission is to prevent child abuse.
“We remain committed to providing a network of support for survivors, and we've adapted our services to keep people safe during this pandemic,” said Joanne Zannoni, executive director of the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault, a private, nonprofit coalition of community-based rape crisis programs throughout New York State.
To support those who are experiencing or have experienced domestic violence, child abuse, or sexual abuse:
- Find creative ways to reach out to them. Remember, it may not be safe for them to talk or to receive information about services and supports that are available. You can still collect information about local resources and have it handy in case it becomes safe for them to receive it.
- If possible, ask how they would like to connect and check in. Examples might include offering online playdates with the kids or offering to talk them through a recipe. The planning of these things can provide necessary “cover” and give them a chance to communicate what they need.
- Help them think through any dangerous situations that may arise, and help them create a plan. This could include, giving them the number to a local helpline, or developing an escape strategy.
- Remember that many individuals who experience abuse or violence do not want to make a report to law enforcement. Do not pressure a survivor to make such a report; it is their decision. Empower them to decide on their own.
“To ease the anxiety during this time, and to prevent violence, abuse, and sexual assault, we emphasize traditional knowledge that honors our culture and ceremonies as a way of life, so that we may treat ourselves and each other with dignity and respect,” said Amie Barnes, executive director of Seven Dancers Coalition, which works to uplift the families of Indigenous Communities by educating and restoring traditional values.
“We learned from Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy that the incidence of domestic violence increases during times of disaster and crisis. While it might feel daunting to reach out, help is available through a network of advocacy programs across the state of New York” said Connie Neal, Executive Director of the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
If you are in need, call on experienced and caring professionals in your community.
- Call the New York State Hotline for Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence for 24/7, free, and confidential support: 1-800-942-6906
- Text or chat with a professional at the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. New Yorkers seeking help can text 1-844-997-2121 or chat on OPDV’s new confidential website at www.opdv.ny.gov.
- Find culturally appropriate domestic violence and sexual assault support services:
- Black survivors can contact Black Women’s Blueprint: 1-347-533-9102
- Deaf and hard-of-hearing survivors can contact IGNITE: DeafIGNITE@gmail.com or 1-585-286-2713
- Latina/o, Latinx. and Spanish-speaking survivors can contact Casa de Esperanza: 1-651-772-1611
- LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors can contact the Anti-Violence Project: 1-212-714-1141
- Native survivors can contact the StrongHearts Native Helpline by calling 1-844-7NATIVE (1-844-762-8483), or Seven Dancers Coalition: www.sevendancerscoalition.com/resources-in-nys
- Transgender and gender non-conforming survivors can contact the Trans Lifeline Peer Support Hotline: 1-877-565-8860
- Survivors whose primary language is not English can call Womankind’s 24-hour multilingual helpline: 1-888-888-7702
- Find parenting support in your community by calling 1-800-CHILDREN (1-800-244-5373) or find COVID-specific parenting resources on PCANY’s website: www.preventchildabuseny.org/covid-19-resources-and-response
- Individuals concerned for the safety of a child and/or worried about their own thoughts and behaviors can call the Stop It Now Helpline at 1-888-PREVENT (1-888-773-8368).
- To report suspected child abuse or maltreatment, call the New York Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment, commonly known as the Child Abuse Hotline, at 1-800-342-3720.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault: Chelsea Miller, firstname.lastname@example.org
New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence: Connie Neal, email@example.com
Seven Dancers Coalition: Phil Preston, firstname.lastname@example.org
Prevent Child Abuse New York: Wendi Brandow, email@example.com