National Domestic Violence Hotline Call 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224
Domestic Violence / Intimate Partner Violence
Among all the fears and issues that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought is the growing increase of domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence. According to Stanley (2020), intimate partner violence has been predicted to increase by 20 percent with quarantine months. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2020, October 9) already states that approximately 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 7 men have experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime. Even though intimate partner violence is often thought of as violence within the home usually caused by a spouse or intimate live-in partner, the CDC states that intimate partner violence (IPV) also occurs with ex-spouses, ex-intimate partners, and same-sex partners. Domestic violence / IPV is not limited to sexual or physical abuse but can include stalking or psychological harm (CDC, 2020, October 9). Such harm can be using money and financial tools to exert control, along with emotional abuse (WCC, 2020). According to the Women’s Crisis Center (2020, Domestic Violence), “Domestic violence is a systemic pattern of power and control tactics perpetrated by one intimate partner against another.” It is about control and maintaining control over someone with whatever means the controller believes necessary. This can be a cycle of violence and harm to repentance and sorrow from the abuser one day to the next (fists one day, flowers the next).
Factors that have increased the risk of domestic violence/IPV during the COVID-19 are increased government-sanctioned social isolation within the workplace, limited family, friends, public (i.e., in-person church, concerts, movies, etc.) physical socialization (Stanley, 2020). Increase stress within the home structure has also contributed to increasing domestic violence with joblessness, financial distress, alcohol use, etc. (Stanley, 2020). Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a clear end to COVID-19; however, many organizations can help individuals and families dealing with domestic violence, such as the Women’s Crisis Center.
Women’s Crisis Center
Although Women’s Crisis Center’s name implies crisis services just for women, their services are for everyone (male or female, families, and communities) within Northern Kentucky and the Buffalo Trace Area Development Districts. Their mission statement declares that the “Women’s Crisis Center (WCC) is a foundational community center offering comprehensive services for people impacted by domestic violence and sexual abuse, while transforming our community through violence prevention” (WCC, 2020, About Us). “Women’s Crisis Center is part of Kentucky’s two statewide coalitions—the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs (KASAP), and the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence (KCADV)” (WCC, 2020, About Us, What We Do).
The Women’s Crisis Center’s vision focuses on providing crisis intervention and aid within a safe and nurturing environment to all victims and survivors who have experienced domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault (WCC, 2020). Part of this is done through the two state-certified residential shelters for victim-survivors of domestic violence & their children. The Women’s Crisis Center’s vision seeks to empower victims to move beyond victimhood to becoming strong survivors. This is done with counseling for individuals and families within Women’s Crisis Center shelters as well as in-office counseling for victims/survivors of domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault. Additionally, the Women’s Crisis Center advocates for their clients’ safety, welfare, and civil rights. Their services include helping clients attain legal aid and protective orders. A protective order is a court order signed by a judge and is meant to prevent additional acts of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. “Spouses, former spouses, parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren, couples who have lived together or couples who have a child in common can file for a domestic violence order” (WCC, 2020, Mandatory Referral). People who are dating or have been dating and been sexually assaulted or stalked/harass can file for an interpersonal protective order (WCC, 2020). Also, Women’s Crisis Center advocates will aid clients with the court process.
COVID 19 has limited some of the Women’s Crisis Center services; however, they are still helping people with their 24/7/365 crisis intervention hotline 1-800-928-3335 / 859-491-3335 and residential shelters. The Women’s Crisis Center’s additional services are individual and group counseling, support groups, safety planning assistance, elder abuse services, children’s and hospital advocacy, court, community, systems advocacy, pet protection, etc. (WCC, 2020).
The Pet Protection Program
“The Pet Protection Program was developed to remove a barrier for victims of domestic violence entering the Women’s Crisis Center Shelter” (WCC, 2020, Pet Protection Program). This program provides immediate safety for family pets. Pets are given care in a safe environment, which includes updated vaccinations, addressing any health needs, and spaying/neutering if requested by the owner. The pets are returned to the client when the family leaves the Women’s Crisis Center’s shelter. Assistance with housing placement, household items, furniture, and financial aid is also provided when clients are ready to leave the shelter.
Prevention and Bystander Education
Prevention and bystander education are a big part of the Women’s Crisis Center’s services. Advocates attend various events to bring domestic violence/IPV education to local high schools, colleges, businesses, and agencies throughout the community (WCC, 2020, Prevention). The Women’s Crisis Center is also part of the Green Dot violence prevention strategy. “Green Dot is a nationally recognized strategy focused on preventing power-based personal violence – sexual violence, partner violence, child abuse, elder abuse, bullying, and stalking. The strategy is based around the belief that each one of us holds power as bystanders to actively prevent violence and shape our community norms” (WCC, 2020, Prevention). The Green Dot philosophy is, “no one has to do everything, but everyone can do something” (WCC, 2020, Prevention). This philosophy is similar to Romans 12:21 (New International Version, 2011), “do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Christians can be critical players in stopping and interceding in abuse by speaking out against this evil that is done especially leadership and persons of influence.
The Women’s Crisis Center provides all services at no cost “regardless of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, ethnic origin, age, physical or mental disability, veteran status, uniformed services, political belief, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy or health status, social or economic status, citizenship, immigration status, marital status, or language spoken” (WCC, 2020).
The Women’s Crisis Center’s contact information for Boone, Campbell, Carroll, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton, Owen, Pendleton Kentucky counties 1-800-928-3335 / 859-491-3335. Their address and office’s information are 835 Madison Avenue, Covington, KY 41011, Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm. Additional Women’s Crisis Center’s information for Bracken, Fleming, Lewis, Mason, Robertson Kentucky counties 1-800-928-6708 / 606-564-6708, 111 East Third Street, Maysville, KY 41056, Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. – Edmund Burke.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, October 9). Violence prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/index.html
New International Version. (2011). Bible Gateway. https://www.biblegateway.com
Stanley, M. (2020). Domestic violence: Why the increase in domestic violence during COVID-19? Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/making-sense-chaos/202005/why-the-increase-in-domestic-violence-during-covid-19
Women’s Crisis Center. (2020). Hope is found here. https://www.wccky.org