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April 07, 2020

Phone Supports Becomes a Critical Intervention and Prevention Tool During COVID-19 Crisis

Governor DeWine’s “Stay at Home” order has been the new normal for many Ohioans but for those who experience violence inside their home, it has proven to be a significantly harder challenge.

Women Helping Women

Women Helping Women (WHW) focuses on crisis intervention and prevention in the areas of gender-based violence. Although survivors are predominantly women, they also provide support to men and the LGBTQ community. 

COVID-19’s social limitations have hindered the agency from leading many of their in-person programs like DVERT (Domestic Violence Enhancement Response Team). In partnership with the Cincinnati Police Department, DVERT allows a team member to be onsite right away and provide immediate support to survivors. This can range from meeting a victim at a hospital, sitting with them in court, guiding them through the legal process, to on-site therapy.

In isolation, victims of violence might experience an increase in physical and mental abuse. Women Helping Women is looking for safe and innovative ways to help them. 

The COVID-19 Regional Relief Fund activated by United Way of Greater Cincinnati and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, has helped WHW adapt to new technology that supports survivors by meeting them where they are. It has kept their staff working productively, which is crucial to support the increase in calls to their 24-hour crisis intervention hotline. Over the past several weeks, requests for help have been centered around security, food, safety, basic needs and overall physical well-being.

“We are so grateful that the Covid-19 Regional Response Fund mobilized so quickly to provide immediate relief to our agency. With these dollars, we have been able to pivot to match the current climate and reach survivors where they need us most. Calls into our hotline have increased 30% since this pandemic began in our region, and this funding has been instrumental in ensuring that we do not miss a beat in fulfilling our mission of empowering all survivors,” said Emma Kamrass, Senior Development Manager.  

The rapid-response fund was activated by Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) and United Way of Greater Cincinnati (UWGC). The fund has already distributed over $1 million into the community and will continue to support those in our communities who are most disproportionately affected by – and most vulnerable to – the health, economic, education, housing and social impacts of the crisis.

Thank you for your support during this challenging time. Our community is stronger because of you.

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