INDIANAPOLIS — Reports of domestic violence have surged over the past year and experts have said the pandemic played a major role in that.
The Domestic Violence Network tells us they’ve seen a 200% increase in calls since the pandemic began.
We’ve shown how local organizations are working to address that and keep up with the growing need for services, but one aspect that often goes overlooked is kids and the impact witnessing domestic violence has on them.
At Coburn Place on E. 38th survivors of interpersonal abuse are finding hope and safety and their kids are getting a chance to be kids again.
“Kids are often overlooked when you think about domestic violence and interpersonal abuse, but we know that kids that experience or witness abuse are more likely to be abused when they get older,” said Julie Henson, Vice President of Development at Coburn Place.
So in addition to housing and survivor support, there are programs specifically for kids.
“We know that our children's program here at Coburn Place is the most vital thing that we do to break the cycle of abuse once and for all."
In 2020 Coburn Place provided services for 614 kids and as pandemic restrictions loosen they continue to see more families reaching out for help escaping domestic violence, stalking, human trafficking, and sexual assault.
“The pandemic has added extra barriers. For a long time in 2020 you no longer have that third space to go to. Libraries were closed. Coffee shops were closed. There wasn't a place to go to call someone from for help, so as the lockdowns have lifted we've seen survivors be able to reach out to our crisis hotline or to our advocates.”
So far in 2021, 400 new families have reached out for help. That is on top of the 600-700 still receiving assistance from last year.
“Seeing people have a chance to rest and heal and seeing our kids have a place to be fun and then seeing them have fun it's such a beautiful thing to witness and such a privilege to be able to be a small part of the new chapter that so many families and individuals are starting here at Coborn place,” said Henson. “By helping teach healthy relationships, by helping parents and kids reconnect after experiencing trauma, by giving kids a place just to play and have fun we know that kids are ending domestic violence for generations to come and families are truly rebuilding and being strengthened at the time here."
Coburn Place has 35 apartments on-site and they also help families find affordable housing in the community. Unfortunately, the need is so great, Coburn Place currently has about a 6-12 month waiting list.