Women’s Resource Center combats rising domestic violence rates amid pandemic

“Early in the pandemic we had a period of eerie silence,” said Amber Harris, director of development at the Women’s Resource Center.

The Women’s Resource Center is a victim service agency in DeKalb County. WRC serves almost 6,000 women, children and other domestic violence survivors each year with programs including a domestic violence safe house, a 24-hour hotline, legal advocacy, support groups, prevention programming for children, a summer camp and much more. The coronavirus pandemic only exacerbated the problems that WRC was already fighting in the community.

“We knew women were stuck sheltering at home with their abusive partners without anyone to reach out to for help. With schools closed, communities worried about kids experiencing child abuse without teachers and counselors to intervene,” sais Harris. “And we were right. Grady Hospital saw a 17% increase in the number of domestic violence cases in their emergency room.”

When the courts began hearing protective order cases again after the 2020 shutdown, WRC was flooded with calls from survivors who needed help. The group provided direct financial assistance to some families, but it took creativity to remotely offer the help that domestic abuse victims and survivors needed.

“Sometimes we’ve had to use coded language or do things to be very careful,” said Harris. “It has been a challenge to move some of our programs to the virtual sphere while still maintaining safety and confidentiality, but we have figured it out because it is important to us that no domestic violence survivor be left without help.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 30% of women in Georgia between the ages of 14 and 44 have been assaulted by an intimate partner at least once and more than 100 Georgians are killed each year in domestic violence homicides.

“Our work is important because we are saving lives,” said Harris. “Our mission is still the same – to create a society in which domestic violence no longer exists – and it is more important to us and to our community than ever.”

Who’s helping?

Women’s Resource Center

Services: A domestic violence safe house, a 24-hour hotline, legal advocacy, support groups, prevention programming for children, a summer camp and more.

Where supplies have gone: WRC serves families impacted by domestic violence from the greater Atlanta area.

Where to donate: Visit www.wrcdv.org to make financial donations or donate items from WRC’s wishlists.

How to get help: Anyone experiencing domestic violence or concerned that a friend or family member might be experiencing domestic violence can call our 24-hour hotline at 404-688-9436.

If you are involved in or know of an organization working to bring relief to the Atlanta community during the coronavirus pandemic OR you are with an organization with supplies that you don’t know where to donate, please email us at Shannon.n.Dominy@gmail.com.