RICHMOND, Va. -- Since the coronavirus pandemic hit Virginia in March, the YWCA of Richmond has continued to make sure survivors of domestic violence know help is still available.
So far, they have seen an uptick in calls by 25 percent, compared to last year.
The demand continues to grow even with one of their outreach programs with a local area hospital being shut down due to COVID-19.
Right now, the YWCA of Richmond is still able to make contact with survivors through their Lethality Assessment Program.
Officers from Richmond Police Department, Virginia Commonwealth University and now Virginia Union University help make sure survivors known about the help the YWCA has, while out on domestic violence related calls.
"We believe you," said Rupa Murthy, Chief Advancement and Advocacy Officer of YWCA Richmond. "You're not alone. 24-7. You know 24 hours a day seven days a week, there is somebody willing to have a conversation with you about what you need to feel safe in your life."
Murthy says in response to the increased isolation survivors are experiencing due to the pandemic, the YWCA of Richmond has added text and chat to their hotline.
It's an option for those in need of help but are not able to pick up the phone and call.
Staff has been increased and new positions have been created to meet the growing demand, and they have opened a new location in Chesterfield County. They are able to physically help those in need while safely practicing social distance and while wearing masks.
"It's just an increase in demand, a more stressful situation for all of us as you know. And the fact that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I think we've been incredibly active on social media, talking about what that looks like. Just trying to figure out ways to network and outreach in a more intentional way than we've ever had to do before," said Murthy.
The YWCA of Richmond works with other community partners to make sure survivors and their loved ones receive all the help they need.
For more information call the YWCA of Richmond 24/7 hotline at 804-612-6126.