While the stay-at-home order throughout the state has been challenging for most, for those living within situations of domestic violence, it has been unimaginable. Numbers have reportedly remained steady at HopeWorks of Howard County — which provides support and advocacy for people in Howard County affected by sexual and intimate partner violence — however, the organization anticipates a rise in service requests once the reentry plan initiates. HopeWorks has received a grant from Bank of America in anticipation of this need, supporting extended shelter stays and technology to provide virtual support for survivors.
“Our concern is that many victims are still with their abusers,” said HopeWorks of Howard County’s Executive Director Jennifer Pollitt Hill. “We theorize that it’s not safe for them to reach out for help, or that they don’t know we are still available. We expect an uptick now that the stay-at-home order has been lifted.”
According to Hill, amid the pandemic, the organization has found alternative ways to provide care for survivors, including virtual counseling, remote screening of new intakes, online workshops and podcasts, and even virtual support during continued court proceedings for peace and protective orders.
Hill said many volunteers have stepped up in support of the organization creating masks, donating food, and volunteering to provide groceries for the local shelter. Business organizations, like Bank of America, have also provided financial support in anticipation of the increased need.
“HopeWorks commitment to ending domestic violence and keeping survivors safe and healthy is vital to Howard County, and we are proud to support them,” said Sabina Kelly, Greater Maryland market president for Bank of America.
Like many other organizations throughout the county, HopeWorks is looking for new ways to provide its services long term.
“We are open and operational and will find new ways to manage and provide our services,” Hill said. “Unfortunately, violence doesn’t stop, we want people to know that Hope is still here.”
HopeWorks of Howard County has a 24-hour sexual, dating and domestic violence helpline at 410-997-2272. More information on upcoming events, additional domestic violence support can be found on its website: http://www.wearehopeworks.org. Donations can also be made at: https://wearehopeworks.charityproud.org/Donate.
About HopeWorks of Howard County
HopeWorks of Howard County, formerly known as Domestic Violence Center, works to promote a community in which sexual and domestic violence is not tolerated and where victims of violence can get individualized, comprehensive services including shelter, counseling, advocacy, and legal services. HopeWorks also has a robust public education department with a special focus on prevention, social justice, and arts and healing. For more information about HopeWorks, visit http://www.wearehopeworks.org.
About Bank of America
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