Domestic violence support groups ask for help sheltering survivors

Posted at 10:21 PM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 22:21:24-04

INDIANAPOLIS — More people are stuck at home because of the pandemic and calls for help from domestic violence victims are skyrocketing.

Shelters operating at 50 percent capacity are filling up fast. Some local organizations are working together to help and are asking for the community to step in as well.

It's a startling statistic from the Domestic Violence Network — there has been a 125 percent increase in calls for help since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

"We were, we are still sheltering in place so you are with your abuser," Kelly McBride, executive director of the Domestic Violence Network, said.

McBride said those looking to leave an abuser are having a tough time finding somewhere to go as shelters fill up.

"They are completely full and very difficult to get into," McBride said.

So now they're putting people in hotels. It's something survivors like Lucia Sheehan say can help save lives.

"The people leaving those situations need a place to stay immediately to feel safe," Sheehan said.

Sheehan now runs Violence Free Living and works with those involved in violent relationships by hosting programs in places like schools and jails. As a survivor who once had to make her own call for help, she knows how important it is for resources to be available right when you need them.

"When you were living in that type of an environment it takes a lot of strength, it takes a lot of courage to make that phone call and if you don't get someone to connect with right away that could be it," Sheehan said.

The Domestic Violence Network had about $35,000 in their hotel fund thanks to donations from the Brave Heart Foundation and Central Indiana Community Foundation, but McBride said that money is going fast and now they need community support.

"It's so great that these foundations have seen the need and provide the funding but we are almost halfway through it and we have only been doing this for two weeks," McBride said. "So it is important if we can have the community step up even $10, $20 it all adds up and helps. It helps a family be safe and be able to start their lives over again."

DONATE | Domestic Violence Network

So far the Domestic Violence Network has placed eight adults, several children and a puppy in safe housing with this money. They hop to be able to provide the same help and resources to everyone esle who needs it.