Hannah Horn is a community-based advocate for Response, a Pitkin County nonprofit that provides free, bilingual support services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. On Thursday, April 16, Horn was on-call for the organization’s crisis hotline, which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
“We are still trying to provide all the services that we were before even if those look different now,” she explains. “We’re still providing our 24-7 crisis helpline, which anyone can reach out to at any time. We recently implemented a text option, so if someone isn’t in a safe space where they can reach out over the phone, they can go to our website and start texting with an advocate.”
She says her caseload hasn’t gone up during the pandemic, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.
“It’s not that domestic violence and sexual assaults aren’t happening,” she says. “It’s just that we’re not hearing about it yet, mostly because people aren’t in a safe space where they can reach out.”
Horn worries for the victims her agency is and isn’t seeing—whether they’re isolated at home with an abuser and unable to reach out for help, or whether they’ve been laid off and aren’t able to pay rent.
She wonders if they're getting reliable information about the pandemic. “A lot of our current clients are either getting information from the abusive partner that isn't accurate,” she says.
In the meantime, she thinks there are lessons to be learned that go beyond her mission at Response.
“Just being able to provide that space and be a safe person someone can open up to,” she says,“it’s something very valuable I hope to continue when I’m advocating for survivors and with loved ones.”
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