DSVS is still working hard to provide services

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Like so many of you in Stillwater County, I am working remotely from home. Call it what you will. Social distancing. Self-quarantine.

Domestic and Sexual Violence Services (DSVS) transitioned to working from home last week in order to do our part to flatten the curve and protect our loved ones, colleagues, and clients by interacting by phone, text, and web-based platforms to slow and hopefully prevent the transmission of COVID-19/Coronavirus.

For most of the community, social distance keeps us safe. However, for those living with violence and abuse in their homes, this practice puts them at greater risk of harm. There is no longer a break from the situation when the abuser or victim would leave the home for work. Children, normally at school and safe during the day are now at home. Social activities have been canceled. Tension in the home, already near the breaking point, is likely to snap under the additional weight of financial and family/relationship stress.

Reports coming in from law enforcement in areas ahead of Montana in the spread of COVID-19 are seeing an increase in domestic violence calls.

As recently as March 25, the Salt Lake City Police Department reported an uptick of 30 percent in domestic violence related calls in a two-week period, compared to this time last year. Authorities attribute that to the uncertainty of this situation and the necessary confinement of families to their homes.

Those seeking to leave an abuser now face additional obstacles. Services that are normally accessible and open to the survivor are either closed, appointment only, or moved to online/phone service. The recommended precautions limit where a victim may turn to for shelter and assistance.

We are still here. At DSVS, we continue to provide services to victims/survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault throughout Carbon and Stillwater counties. The DSVS staff is available, and our services are always free and confidential.

If you, or someone you know, has questions about what an abusive relationship looks like, needs to plan for the safety of themselves and their children while in the home, or need emergency shelter or assistance fleeing a violent relationship, we are available 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Please call or text the DSVS helpline at 406-425-2222 for assistance.

Kelly Carter

DSVS Direct Service Advocate

Columbus office