During a pandemic, issues relating to domestic violence and the safety of women and children become more important than ever. There are serious fears relating to abusers being in quarantine with the people they are abusing, and having resources available to those people who are suffering are critical.
Domestic Violence During a Pandemic.
According to the Maine Department of Public Safety, of the 23 homicides that took place in 2018, 45% included domestic violence. And in 2020, as a pandemic has caused quarantine all over the country, domestic violence advocates say that the problems being faced may outpace the numbers and data that the state has collected.
According to Francine Stark, executive director of Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence: “People who are living with domestic abuse are really facing much greater risk now with so many restrictions on what they can do and where they can go.”
Victims may be limited in being able to reach out for help, and police in Auburn and Lewistown have received more domestic violence calls. With calls and incidents in Auburn being up 40%, but there may be plenty of people stuck at home with their abusers who don’t have the ability to reach out for help.
Funding to Help Victims:
Stark also said that 70% of victims quizzed by advocates related that reactionary measures taken by the pandemic have put them in greater danger. Last week, The Maine Women’s Fund, announced 53,000 in emergency funds through their Safety First for Women Fund.
This fund was created quickly to meet the urgent needs of women and girls suffering from abuse, and funds have been awarded from three organizations: the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, Sam L. Cohen Foundation, and the PRBB Foundation. These three organizations collectively gave gifts of $40,000, and 59 individuals donated an additional $13,000.
Organizing Quickly To Help DV Victims:
Executive Director Kimberly Crichton had this to say about the new fund and trying to help victims at this critical time:
“The Safety First for Women Fund is a rapid-response emergency fund that reflects the Maine Women’s Fund’s long-term commitment to ending violence for those living in all the communities we serve. We are thrilled to provide $10,000 to the Maine Council on Aging to support their powerful advocacy for greater safety for direct care workers, $27,791 to the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence in support of the work of their nine-member resource centers across the State of Maine and $15,439 to the Wabanaki Women’s Coalition in support of the work of their five-member domestic and sexual violence advocacy centers throughout the Wabanaki territories.”
Since 1989, The Maine Women’s Fund has been invested in providing funding to nonprofits that are run by, and that focus on issues that relate to women and girls through their $2.9 million endowments.