Here’s how you can help domestic violence victims during the coronavirus pandemic

Harbor House of Central Florida remains open to victims

Social workers and women's shelters predict a rise in domestic violence during COVID-19 closures. (Pexels)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Harbor House of Central Florida is asking for the community’s support as the nonprofit continues offering services to domestic violence victims during the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials with the nonprofit organization said they understand the importance of staying open to victims and their families during a time when so many people are asked to stay home.

“People are being asked to stay at home during the COVID-19 pandemic for safety. The reality is, for many people, home is anything but safe,” the organization said in a news release.

According to Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala’s office, data shows domestic violence and child abuse increases during financial stress, with the virus contributing to factors that may result in a higher likelihood of the abuse toward women, children and pets.

Due to the guidelines laid out by the White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding limiting social gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic, Harbor House has had to postpone some of its fundraising events.

“Because of the COVID-19 crisis, some of our fundraising events have been postponed to the next fiscal year, yet we are still housing domestic violence victims and their children in our emergency shelter,” the organization said. “This is why we need your help now more than ever to ensure that Harbor House is there when survivors need us.”

The organization has listed a number of ways the community can offer support to women, children, men and pets affected by domestic violence in Orange County during the pandemic. Here are a few:

  • $25 = Cleaning and sanitation supplies to keep our shelter residents and staff safe and healthy.
  • $65 = One night safe and free from worry in our emergency shelter.
  • $125 = 24/7 crisis line services with a trained advocate.
  • $250 = Sponsors a survivor's pet in our Paws for Peace Kennel.
  • $500 = Fresh groceries for families living in our shelter.
  • $1,000 = Technology and school supplies that will equip the children living in a shelter to succeed in online learning.

Click here to donate.

The nonprofit has also put together an Amazon wish list for anyone interested in donating supplies. Harbor House could receive money back for orders placed through Amazon Smile, according to the release.

“Whatever you give, know that it makes a big difference in the lives of domestic violence survivors at Harbor House,” Harbor House officials said.

If you or someone you know is being abused, you can reach a Harbor House advocate by calling 407-886-2856.

Michelle Sperzel from Harbor House, Tammy Douglass from Help Now of Osceola County, Lui Damiani of the Victim Service Center, Stephen Bardy from the Pet Alliance of Great Orlando and Paula Basil of the No Abuse Program, Inc. said their organizations are all able to provide help to those in need.

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