Domestic Violence Advocates In Reno See A Surge In Calls During Pandemic
The Domestic Violence Resource Center in Reno saw an unprecedented increase in the number of domestic violence hotline calls in March, and as Sierra Nevada Ally reporter Brian Bahouth reports, the trend continues in April.
The resource center operates a 24-hour emergency call line, and since the closure of nonessential businesses and schools, the number of calls has more than doubled over historical averages. Denise Yoxsimer is executive director of the center.
“Between the months of March and February, we saw 65 percent increase in the numbers of calls to the emergency hotline,” Yoxsimer said by phone.
The center maintains residential programs at three different facilities. The emergency shelter can accommodate 25 individuals but has been capped at 18 to maintain safe social distancing margins. The organization also operates two apartment complexes with 19 units available for up to 2 years each, and they, along with the emergency shelter, are full. To meet increased demand for services, the organization is providing emergency sheltering at motels in the community. Yoxsimer says her team is working to raise money to pay for the rooms because April is shaping up to be as violent as March.
“It definitely is looking like we are at a minimum maintaining that increased level of call volume, if not surpassing that for the month of April as well,” Yoxsimer said.
Both English and Spanish language support groups have moved online, but the center still maintains limited walk-in hours at its Reno administrative offices. Yoxsimer says it is critical that they maintain the ability to assist those in crisis face-to-face, albeit through a mask.