LOGAN – Domestic violence and sexual abuse increase during public crisis like COVID-19, and CAPSA of Cache Valley wants to help victims who find themselves in need of help. The organization that also covers Rich County has already seen an increase in request for services and more severe abuse in the first weeks of this heightened public stress.
As “social distancing” and quarantine are used to contain the coronavirus outbreak, CAPSA anticipates an increase in the demand for their services.
“With more people being confined to their homes because of the pandemic situation it is causing an increase in domestic violence situations,” said Jill Anderson the executive director of CAPSA. “It is probably too early to tell how much. Our staff has been communicating to me they have seen increasing numbers and in the complexity of the cases.”
Survivors live in danger by staying home and having increase contact with their abuser. They are also isolated with their abusers. The added stress to the situation is dangerous and aggravates the situation.
“When they ask for help, they need to find new ways to communicate to us. A phone call is not an option in some cases,” she said. “For some, texting is the only way they can get help.”
Anderson said one of the things they have had to adjust to because of the virus is the reduction in the number of spaces the clients can stay in and they had to eliminate spaces where clients like to gather.
“Real Salt Lake recently made a large donation,” Anderson said. “It helped with a lot of our expenses, but we are having a large increase in expenses.”
CAPSA is ramping up and is changing some of their procedures during the pandemic, but the resources, expertise and support will continue.
In the last two weeks, CAPSA has implemented more technology and created procedures to move all casework and clinical therapy to phone and online sessions. The organization is working on providing encrypted video conferences which meet high security standards and are protected by the same level of confidentiality as face-to-face meetings.
Most new clients initiate contact with CAPSA through their 24/7 support phone line at (435) 753-2500.
All calls are assessed for the caller’s safety and are provided case management; the only difference is their follow-up casework will be online or via phone.
If they determine a client is in immediate danger and emergency shelter is needed and still available, CAPSA will do their best to provide a place to stay as opposed to a face-to-face meeting.
The uptick in abuse does not only manifest itself during pandemics, they also see it in natural disaster and other emergencies.
Anderson wants people to support the local businesses, but non-profits need the help too.
“The biggest thing is we want to let people know we are not going anywhere through the COVID-19 crisis,” Anderson said. “We are working though the challenges as we navigate the world with these additional stressors, as well.”
While many nonprofits have reduced services during this public crisis, CAPSA has been ramping up services.
CAPSA is committed to providing their core support services while ensuring the safety of all staff members. The core services includes casework, safety planning, rape exam advocacy, protective order support, legal reporting assistance, clinical therapy and emergency shelter.
During these extreme times CAPSA is not allowing visitors in their building.
For help or more information, call the CAPSA hotline at (435) 753-2500 to speak to an advocate or 911 if you are in immediate danger.