New Remote Services Will Help Domestic Violence Survivors During Pandemic

Cuyahoga County Board of Health Medical Director Dr. Heidi Gullett speaks at a March 27 press conference.
Cuyahoga County Board of Health Medical Director Dr. Heidi Gullett speaks at a March 27 press conference. [Lisa Ryan / ideastream]

Cuyahoga County announced $200,000 for domestic violence remote services.

The funds will allow the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center to implement remote services like advocacy, therapy, case management, and relocation to safe shelter for survivors.

"Housing and financial insecurity are two major barriers for people trying to leave an abusive environment,” Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish said. “This funding will help to reduce individuals at the shelter and expedite moving people into safe, permanent housing.”

Budish said the funding will also be used to ensure isolation and quarantine for DVCAC clients who are COVID-19 positive.

Budish said the social distancing measures and stay at home order put in place for the coronavirus pandemic hurt those in domestic abuse situations, because they aren’t able to reach out to support networks or leave their homes.

“Across the country, we’re seeing that this crisis affects everyone, but it hits our most vulnerable residents more than others,” Budish said.

The county will provide $100,000 to support domestic abuse programs. The Mandel Foundation is providing another $100,000.

Cuyahoga County Board of Health Medical Director Dr. Heidi Gullet said the coronavirus pandemic has not only caused disruptions in the services provided to domestic abuse survivors, it’s also caused issues with providing behavioral health services for children who normally receive those services at school.

“While those professionals are working very hard to deliver services over electronic devices and over phone, we know in medicine that so much of what we do is in person, and so there’s a piece of that that is a challenge,” Gullett said.

She emphasized the importance of continuing mental health services during this time, and thanked medical professionals who are continuing to provide services remotely.

During the Friday press conference, Budish also announced a new program called “Operation Cuyahoga Cares,” which will help provide funds for families to receive basic needs.

Budish said the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services helps 5,000 children. More than 2,000 children are not in county custody, and he says this funding will provide services to help those children remain safely with their families.

The program will match donors with a family being helped by DCFS, and staff will make sure gifts get to the family. Everything is kept confidential and contact-free.

Gullett also announced updated numbers during the Friday briefing, including 1,042 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 63 deaths. Those numbers do not include Cleveland.

As of 2 p.m. Thursday, the state lists 1,768 total cases in Cuyahoga County and 83 deaths, which is the highest number of deaths among Ohio counties. 

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