WRC still helping abuse, assault victims

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Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan continues to provide survivor services such as the 24-Hour Help and Information Line, Safe Home shelter, and therapy, counseling and advocacy by phone or appointment. Jamie Winters, Safe Home Coordinator is pictured restocking pantry shelves for families utilizing Safe Home services.

Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan (WRCNM) continues to provide essential services to survivors of domestic abuse, sexual assault, child abuse and child sexual assault during the unprecedented health pandemic known as COVID-19.

Survivors face a unique dilemma during these challenging times.  The current stay-at-home policy helps protect the public from further spread of the coronavirus; however for people experiencing abuse and sexual violence, their home may not be a safe place.  Rates of violence often spike during crises when mobility is limited, stress is high and normal life is disrupted.  The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that some abusers will use the public health crisis as a tool of power and control to intimidate, scare, or physically assault victims.

“Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan is dedicated to providing services to survivors during this time of intense community need and uncertainty; a time we need to support every survivor in Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet and Otsego counties more than ever,” Gail Kloss WRCNM Executive Director said.

While children are not as vulnerable to the coronavirus as some groups, the pandemic puts them at risk in other ways.  In the U.S., an estimated 1 in 15 children is exposed to intimate partner violence each year — 90% of them as eyewitnesses to the violence, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  During the stay-at-home order, children are cut off from teachers, school counselors and other trusted adults who may provide support or as act as mandated reporters for suspected cases of abuse or sexual assault.

“The need for our specialized services for adult and child survivors continues even when much of the world is shut down,” Kloss said. “At the same time, we’ve had to temporarily close our Gold Mine Resale Shops and cancel crucial fundraising events which both generate vital income for the work we do.”

The nonprofit agency has created an Emergency Appeal to raise dollars to help recover lost income resulting from the pandemic’s health and safety requirements.

“A generous community has supported the agency for more than 40 years and I believe that by working together we will get through these challenging times,” Kloss said.

To support the WRCNM’s Emergency Appeal, please call (231) 347-0067, mail to 423 Porter Street, Petoskey, MI 49770 or visit www.wrcnm.org and click on WRCNM Emergency Appeal.

For support, advocacy, safety planning and counseling, call the WRCNM’s 24-Hour Help and Information Line at (231) 347-0082 or (800) 275-1995.

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