Best Of 2021

Best Lifeline for Domestic Violence Survivors During Stay-at-Home Orders: Women Helping Women

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, intimate partner violence (IPV) affects more than 12 million Americans a year. And when much of the country was under stay-at-home orders at the start of the pandemic, it became clear that it was more difficult for victims of IPV to seek help or support — finding a private spot to call a hotline or the police is hard when isolating with an abuser; typical options for alternate places to stay were limited; and some in-person services were canceled. Locally, Women Helping Women — which offers “evidence-based prevention and expert crisis intervention and support services for survivors of dating violence, sexual violence, domestic violence and stalking” — immediately pivoted to accommodate the pandemic. WHW fast-forwarded plans to launch a new text chat feature, which allowed survivors to get ahold of the agency 24/7 without making a call; they started conducting virtual support groups for survivors; and moved one-on-one crisis management to teletherapy. At the time, WHW President and CEO Kristin Shrimplin said, “Some of the ways that services are being conducted may have to look a little different but anyone in danger and needing emergency services, that is still available to them”