Written by Deborah Clubb. Originally published by the Commercial Appeal, March 21, 2020. Read the article by clicking here.
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a pandemic. Reported illnesses range from very mild to severe, including death. Agencies anticipate widespread transmission will occur in the U.S. in coming months and recommend social distancing among other measures to slow the spread. Call your doctor and stay home if you are sick. Get more information at CDC.gov/coronavirus or contact the Tennessee Department of Health coronavirus information line at 877-857-2945 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT daily.
Shelby County faces another crisis as the COVID-19 response unwinds in households across our communities.
Endless hours confined together with stress exacerbated by fear of disease, loss of income and overwhelming helplessness will ratchet up the anger and violence too many of our neighbors face at home.
Whatever zip code you are in, know that the dangers of intimate partner violence and child abuse are climbing every day that this crisis continues.
You might not be at work with that colleague whose bulky scarves and heavy makeup worry you — or seeing your friend who has coped for years with an abusive spouse. But you can remember her or him, phone and text as much as seems safe. And offer support, information, transportation or shelter as needed and in any way you can safely do so.
Helping battered and abused adults and children find safety and rescue is possible.
Local agencies dedicated to hope and healing for victims and survivors of intimate-partner violence and child abuse are standing by. As Jennifer Balink, Kindred Place executive director, communicated last week: “Being at home is a dream for some families, but a nightmare for others.”
In-person and walk-in client services are suspended and most staff are now working from home — but crisis services continue:
- CasaLuz – for Spanish speaking families. Urgent and crises clients in-person, other counseling by phone. (901) 500-8214 – leave message or text 24/7.
- Family Safety Center – safety planning and evaluation for Orders of Protection by phone, (901) 222-4400 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. Emergency sheltering for high risk clients. Crisis line (901) 249-7611.
- Kindred Place – phone, email and video chat for counseling and educational services; accepting new clients and continuing in-person sessions on case-by-case basis. (901) 276-2200.
- Memphis Child Advocacy Center – staff on campus for critical child sexual abuse and other severe abuse services for children 13 and under, otherwise available by phone and email. Multi-agency investigative team continues to meet daily via video conference. (901) 525-2377.
- Shelby County Crime Victims & Rape Crisis Center – assistance with Orders of Protection in critical safety cases (screening via telephone). Counselors and victim advocates available via (901) 222-3950 or online request 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday. 24/7 /365 sexual assault forensic exams and hotline (901) 222-4350.
- YWCA DV Crisis Hotline – phone interview for possible emergency shelter (901) 725-4277.
A full list of local help is at MemphisSaysNOMORE.com and at shelbycountytn.gov/community-services.
Long hours under stress can be too much even for healthy families. Phillis Lewis with the Memphis/Shelby County Domestic and Sexual Violence Council shared a list of helpful links for parents at dsvcouncil.org.
Women, children and men in violent homes need compassion and attention — now and for the long haul. Support them, support the steadfast specialists who stand ready to assist. Do not hesitate to make the call.
Be one who cares.