WOOD COUNTY, Ohio — October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and during the COVID-19 pandemic, advocates say they have been busier than ever helping abuse survivors.
One Wood County agency is letting survivors be aware that they're available 24/7 to help.
The Cocoon is a comprehensive domestic and sexual violence agency that serves survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, sex trafficking, stalking and adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. They operate a 24-bed emergency shelter and 24/7 crisis intervention for advocacy services and legal advice.
As they finished 2019, they saw a 15% jump in survivors needing services. Once the COVID-19 pandemic hit and stay-at-home orders went into effect, they saw a 40% increase in calls from survivors seeking assistance and that number has remained steady for them since March.
The level of violence towards survivors is increasing as well.
"We are seeing reports from survivors of increased strangulation injuries and increased physical injuries that are much more severe than what we've seen before," The Cocoon Executive Director Kathy Mull said.
In addition, as of Oct.18, The Cocoon has served 603 survivors of abuse. With two months left to go in 2020, they're expecting cases to surpass last year's number of 617.
Mull said everyone is capable of making a difference in a survivor's life.
"That may just be checking on your loved one that you have some concerns about and reaching out and saying, how can I help you? Passing along our information and letting them know there's help available and getting them connected to our resources," she said.
Mull anticipates calls will remain high into the end of the year and they will continue to provide services such as telehealth, their weekly support group and more.
To reach an advocate, call the 24/7 line at 419-373-1730 and select option 2.
The following survivor services are provided at no cost, including:
- Emergency Safe Shelter
- Legal Access Program
- Children’s Programming
- Crisis Support
- Economic Empowerment
- Case Management
- Safety Planning
- Support Groups
- Medical Advocacy
- Safe Pets Program
- Housing Assistance
- Title IX Navigation
- Campus-based Advocacy