WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES MAY 14, 2020 13
BY COREY JOHNSON AND HELEN
This pandemic has been hard for all
New Yorkers, but for those facing
domestic violence, it is even more
dangerous. Isolated with an abuser and
far from support networks, their opportunities
to get help may be limited, and
even a simple phone call can be perilous.
The stories of our fellow New Yorkers
One woman struggled to get an order of
protection online, only to be told by the
police they couldn’t enforce it without a
hard copy. Another woman and her children
were thrown out of their home, and
it took two calls to 911 to receive help.
Advocates shared these and other
tragedies with the City Council during
a May 1 oversight hearing on the impact
of COVID-19 on domestic violence. What
became clear is that we must have a comprehensive
plan in place to reach these
vulnerable New Yorkers.
Sadly, the city’s messaging on domestic
violence has fallen short. At our hearing,
providers testified about the need for
robust and culturally appropriate messaging
that identifies resources available
for survivors. To begin to address this
messaging gap, last week, the City Council
launched the #BeingSafeCANTWait
campaign to let survivors and bystanders
know how to recognize signs of DV, and
that help is available.
The city must build on this work and
get the word out about support services
for DV survivors during the pandemic.
The Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and
Gender Based Violence should implement
a public service campaign amplifying DV
messaging, resources, and text and chat
And they should create palm cards
with information about DV supports
to be distributed at sites across the city,
such as food pantries, grocery stores and
pharmacies, where essential services are
already being provided. Getting the word
out means reaching people where they
are during PAUSE.
The city should also work to increase
DV survivors’ access to the internet and
to personal communication devices,
particularly in shelters. And the city
should provide guidance regarding how
to protect their personal devices from
abusers who use technology to track and
Finally, the city must develop a thoughtful
plan that anticipates the surge in DV
reports — and demand for services — that
will likely follow the lifting of the state’s
PAUSE restrictions. Some countries saw
a 30 percent spike in DV reports after
COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed. We
should prepare for the same trend.
Corey Johnson is Speaker of the New York
City Council, Helen Rosenthal is the Chair
of the Council Committee on Women and
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City must do more to protect domestic
violence victims during pandemic