Advocates carry on

According to Director of Client Services, Mary Byrd, COVID-19 has done nothing to reduce the need for YWCA Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault services.

“The shelters are nearly at capacity,” Mary said. “We are seeing some walk-ins and doing advocacy by phone as well as daily Protection Order Clinics. We are carrying on with the daily demands of the job.”

Sexual assault calls continue as well, though COVID-19 protocols have made it more of an issue for advocates to accompany survivors during their exams.

While the virus hasn’t slowed demand, it has complicated group living.
“We’ve reviewed our facilities and have instituted new guidelines to increase the distance between residents by closing some shared spaces and using others one family at a time,” Mary said. “We have also added several additional sanitizing procedures to the daily cleaning routine.”

Residents are encouraged to stay isolated as much as possible. And new residents have their temperatures taken and receive a health screening before entering shelter.