XENIA — In a time where families are staying home to protect themselves and their communities against COVID-19, domestic violence victims could feel more isolated and less safe.
“Abuse is about power and control. When survivors are forced to stay in the home or in close proximity to their abuser more frequently, an abuser can use any tool to exert control over their victim, including a national health concern such as COVID-19,” a National Domestic Violence Hotline article states. “In a time where companies may be encouraging that their employees work remotely, and the CDC is encouraging ‘social distancing,’ an abuser may take advantage of an already stressful situation to gain more control.”
Family Violence Prevention Center (FVPC) of Greene County is there for local survivors who need help.
“We realize that this time of increased time at home, potential financial security disturbance, and children at home needing parents to be their educational guide may place domestic violence victims at even more risk,” Harmony Thoma, FVPC child and family counselor and community relations coordinator, said. “While our country is facing a most uncertain time of growing illness, we are here for domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking victims, day and night.”
Although some staff members are working remotely, the safe house in Xenia continues to fully operate.
“We will practice universal precautions, increased cleaning and sanitizing schedule completed by staff as well as social distancing,” Thoma said.
FVPC’s Sexual Assault Survivor Support Group, Healthy Homes, Smiles and Domestic Violence Intervention Program group meetings are temporarily on hold.
Ohio Department of Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran announced during Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s daily press conference March 19 that the governor would be issuing an executive order to expand access to medical and behavioral health services using telehealth.
“Enabling this full array of services, both medical and behavioral health, to be done remotely or through phone or video is an important way for us to take pressure off of emergency rooms and hospitals while allowing Ohioans to continue to receive good quality care and to not even have to leave their home to do that,” Corcoran said.
Thoma said FVPC is working on steps to provide outreach and aftercare services via these telehealth services in consideration of safety concerns for domestic and sexual violence victims.
Counselors will be in contact with their clients to decide upon the direction of future sessions.
FVPC will post updates about resources and services on its Facebook page: Family Violence Prevention Center.
Call 937-502-4498 or follow Anna Bolton, Reporter on Facebook.