SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — October is known as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Vera House in Syracuse is continuing its efforts to end abuse.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Vera House says their calls have varied. Some months they get more calls than others.
“At the very onset of the pandemic our calls were down and we think that’s because people might not even have known that we were still here. There have been times where we’ve seen them up above normal. But overall our calls are probably similar pre-pandemic as they have been during the pandemic. That’s in terms of the numbers,” says Randi Bregman, Co-executive Director at Vera House.
But what they have seen is the nature of the call has been much more intense.
People have had no income to support them, been in situations where they can’t navigate out, they’ve called us from closets because they were trapped at home in the early months of the pandemic without a way to get to safety because everybody was required to be home including those who were being hurt, trapped with someone who was causing harm.Randi Bregman, Co-executive Director of Vera House
The nonprofit offers a 24-hour support line, which is also a gateway to all of the services that are provided and is completely confidential.
“If you need immediate shelter, if you are looking for an advocate to help you navigate the systems, if you might also need some counseling and support. Everything is available through that 24 hour support line,” says Bregman.
If you aren’t comfortable calling, there’s a chat line.
“We have somebody able to answer a chat from 8:30 in the morning until 9 pm, seven days a week,” says Bregman.
With October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Vera House says the month itself does not generate more calls, but survivor stories do.
“Survivor stories that resonate with people tend to generate more calls. So when you have a national or a local story where people are talking about domestic violence, what it looks like, what people may not have thought about before that’s common for us to get calls from people saying, I heard that news story or I followed that situation and I think I may be in a similar situation,” says Bergman.
Bregman added, “So we do find that the attention that’s often brought to domestic violence particularly in terms of testimony from people who’ve been there, that often generates more calls.”
During the month of October, Vera House usually holds a public event to raise awareness on domestic violence. However, because of the ongoing pandemic and capacity issues, Vera House will not be holding an event this year. Instead, Vera House plans to share vital information to social media throughout October.