For the past several years on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving in the US, the #GivingTuesday movement has inspired millions of people to donate money in support of countless nonprofit organizations across the globe. Similarly, United Way’s DoMore24 online giving campaign each June has endeavored mobilize online charitable giving to local nonprofits. Now, in response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19, GivingTuesday is spearheading #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving and unity taking place on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. Further, this year’s DoMore24 is syncing its efforts with #GivingTuesdayNow to catalyze the giving spirit of the DMV.
Today, as part of these online giving campaigns, Safe Shores – The DC Children’s Advocacy Center is asking for your help. Now more than ever, children in the District of Columbia need our help to address and prevent child abuse. Your contribution can help child victims of abuse victims and their families get the support they need to begin healing.
Read on to learn how your tax-deductible donation can provide hope in this unprecedented time of need.
Child abuse is predicted to be increasing during stay-at-home orders.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put more children at risk for experiencing abuse at home. Not only are many families struggling to meet basic needs, but financial stress and emotional stress are known risk factors for abuse, and these stressors have been exacerbated by the pandemic. With regard to sexual abuse, many children are effectively trapped in a confined space with their abusers with no recourse outside the home.
By being out of school, children are away from some of their biggest advocates and protectors: teachers and other school employees from attendance counselors to cafeteria and facilities maintenance personnel. Teachers report about 20 percent of child abuse cases, a higher rate than any other professional group. Already, data from jurisdictions around the country are revealing dramatic drops in the rate of child abuse reports—in some places, larger than 60 percent.
We won’t know the extent of how children are currently being affected until their daily routines once again include interacting with teachers and other trusted adults face-to-face. To address the current need and be prepared for the staggering demand for services we expect to come, Safe Shores needs your support.
Further, since awareness and education are some of our most powerful tools for doing something to combat abuse during this crisis, Safe Shores is providing online training sessions for adults to learn how to recognize, respond to and prevent child sexual abuse. These free trainings for the community have been fully subscribed, which tells us that adults want to know what they can do to #ProtectKids365.
Safe Shores provides basic needs—access to groceries, clothing, emergency financial assistance—for child victims and their families when they need it the most.
Children who come to Safe Shores may need new clothing for a variety of reasons: the clothes they’re wearing may need to be collected for evidence, or they may not be returning home. Every child who comes to Safe Shores is offered colorful duffel bag filled with new seasonally-appropriate clothing, underwear, toiletries, and pajamas.
In addition, Safe Shores provides resources to help child victims and their families with groceries and transportation. Financial assistance is also available for our clients to provide immediate relief for other urgent needs.
We continue to partner with first responders in law enforcement and child welfare to intervene in abuse, make sure child victims’ voices are heard, and help children and families focus on healing.
Before Safe Shores opened in Washington, DC 25 years ago, children and their families had to go to multiple agencies around the city to try to get the support they needed following an allegation of abuse. This process was stressful, inefficient and costly: families struggled to navigate a complex system while children had to tell their story to multiple people, often compounding their shame and trauma.
As part of the child advocacy center (CAC) model, Safe Shores and our partner agencies are located in one building, facilitating the investigative process and access to a wide variety of critical resources for children and families. Now, even while working remotely, our specialized, high-skilled staff coordinates with our partner agencies to streamline the process and ensure that the safety, dignity, and needs of the child and family are always put first.
We stand at the ready around the clock to ensure access to vital victim services to children affected by abuse and other violence.
Over the past five weeks, Safe Shores has completely overhauled the way our services are provided to children in need until we may safely offer them in person once again. From tele-forensic interviews (using tablets and laptops) to tele-health therapy to Caregiver Support Groups and prevention trainings on Zoom, we are resolutely here for our clients. As ever, we are maintaining our signature child-focused, best practices approach while implementing the comprehensive, compassionate and coordinated CAC model.
As you might imagine, Safe Shores faces unexpected costs to make this shift. We are looking to supporters such as you to help us continue our work.
Because every child deserves a healthy and safe childhood.
During a recent Zoom call about how to help parents and children manage stress during this COVID-19 pandemic, physician, researcher and teacher Dr. Bruce Perry reminded hundreds of child abuse prevention professionals that we are “givers of hope.” These three words were a balm, offering welcome encouragement during this fraught time when we know many families are struggling and children are suffering.
Recognizing the current and anticipated devastating impact of COVID-19 on children and families, Safe Shores is unwavering in our commitment to providing the intervention, hope and healing DC’s child victims need.
In recognition of #GivingTuesdayNow and because this work must go on, if you can, won’t you please make a tax-deductible donation to Safe Shores? Your gift allows us to continue the vital work of responding to and preventing child abuse and raising awareness.
Any gift, no matter what the size, is truly appreciated as we develop and refine new ways to provide access to the unique combination of intervention, hope, and healing that Safe Shores specializes in providing.