YWCA Richmond responding to uptick in domestic violence during pandemic

Posted at 1:07 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 15:08:47-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The YWCA Richmond is known for eliminating racism and empowering women.

In their 134 years, they have dedicated 40 years to crisis counseling.

Each year they service 4,000 calls and towards the last few weeks in March, leading into April 2020, they started to see up to a 40 percent decline in calls.

Within the last week, they have started to see a spike in numbers.

"That means that survivors are waiting because they are not safe to call, because they are isolated with their abusers. Survivors are waiting to call our hotline until they absolutely need help," said Rupa Murthy chief development officer at YWCA Richmond.

Murthy said as of this week, they actively are working on 200 calls. She says so far in Richmond they have seen at least a five to six percent increase in calls.

"We just want people to know that we are here to create safety plans. To help de-escalate situations, to do tele counseling, to be able to work with behavioral issues that come up and build healthy relationships prior to a horrific situations," said Murthy.

If you or a loved one is in danger and ready to get help – it’s suggested that you first tell someone you trust.

"If you can find space on a walk or somewhere call 804-612-6126. Please reach out," said Murthy. "Governor Northam has made it very clear, Chief of Police here in Richmond has made it very clear, if you are not safe at home, please leave."

Next, create a safety plan.

Figure out how you and or your loved ones can leave. Set aside emergency cash. Create an escape route from work, if you are an essential worker. If you're in public and need help- - yell fire.

"I would also refer survivors to our website,, and there is actually a tab on there that says ‘get help.’ We work with a lot of different agencies to be able to put those pieces together."

Sister agencies and support groups that work with YWCA Richmond include, Safe Harbor in Henrico, Hanover Safeplace, James' House in Petersburg, Richmond Police Department, VCU, and Bon Secours.

All this support is available to those in need now and after the pandemic.

"This is a new moment in time,” said Murthy. “This is a time where we are adapting to resources that we do have to meet the needs of our community today... Making sure survivors are able to get their daily needs met."

If you are in a domestic violence situation and need help, call the YWCA 24/7 hotline 804-612-6126.

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