Since Governor Larry Hogan issued a stay at home order for Marylanders on March 30, public health officials and protective services workers have noted a precipitous decline in police reports of domestic and child abuse. And the state-run Child Protective Services agency in Maryland reports 70% fewer calls during the first week of April, compared to the same period last year.
But experts are concerned that vulnerable adults and children are actually more at risk during the Coronavirus pandemic than they were before it started. For vulnerable individuals living with an abuser, home isn’t a safe place.
Today on Midday, a conversation about how COVID-19 has exacerbated the crisis of domestic violence, and what resources are available to victims. Tom's guests are two of Maryland's leading advocates for victims and survivors of domestic and sexual abuse.
He speaks first with Attorney Lisae C. Jordan. She is executive director and counsel of the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA), a federally recognized coalition of state organizations working to combat sexual assault. MCASA provides training, expert advice, and public policy advocacy throughout the state of Maryland. Ms. Jordan is also the founder and executive director of MCASA's Sexual Assault Legal Institute (SALI), a project that provides legal services to survivors of sexual assault, and legal training and technical assistance for professionals working with survivors.
Tom's next guest is Dr. Inga James. With decades of experience in the field of family violence, Dr. James currently serves as board president of the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, and executive director of Heartly House, a 24/7 domestic-abuse hotline and survivor-support service based in Frederick, Maryland. The organization has been helping victims of abuse and sexual trafficking for more than 40 years…
If you are a victim of domestic violence or have experienced any form of sexual abuse, help is always available. In Maryland, you can dial 211 for a range of counseling and legal services, or you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or 1-800-787-3224 for TTY, or if you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.
At the MCASA website, you can find a comprehensive listing of resources for survivors, as well as for families and friends of survivors. Additional resources are available by calling MCASA at 301-565-2277 or emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Crisis intervention is also available through the 24-Hour hotline at Heartly House. Non-crisis requests for services can be made from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., 7 days per week. They have language-line interpreting services for non-English speaking callers.
To contact the Heartly House 24-Hour hotline, call 301-662-8800.