ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Domestic abuse rises during the holiday season, and victims of domestic abuse may feel like they are more isolated because of the coronavirus pandemic. But, there are many organizations around the Capital Region ready and able to help victims of domestic abuse like the Unity House in Troy.
Specialty Program Director at Unity House, Sarah McGaughnea, said there has been an increase in calls to Unity House’s Domestic Violence hotline. She wants victims to know Unity House is fully functional, that help is available and that they take the protection of people using their services from the coronavirus seriously.
McGaughnea is worried because domestic violence tends to climb during the holidays. The added stress of the holidays combined with isolation, job/financial insecurity, and/or coronavirus health concerns could escalate an already violent situation to the point of lethality, she said.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Americans are required to stay home to protectSubstance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
themselves and their communities. However, the home may not be safe for many
families who experience domestic violence, which may include both intimate partners
and children. COVID-19 has caused major economic devastation, disconnected many
from community resources and support systems, and created widespread uncertainty
and panic. Such conditions may stimulate violence in families where it didn’t exist
before and worsen situations in homes where mistreatment and violence has been a
Intimate Partner Violence and Child Abuse Considerations During COVID-19
Abuse is five times more likely for children living in low socio-economic situations, according to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services. Children living in homes where there is domestic abuse are more likely to also be abused, McGaughnea said. Additional financial stress on parents or caregivers due to the coronavirus can make them even more susceptible.
Domestic violence assistance
- Albany County 24-hour Sexual Abuse Hotline 518-447-7716.
- Columbia County Department of Social Services 518-828-9411.
- Equinox Domestic Violence Services 24-Hour Hotline 518-432-7865.
- Fulton County Family Counseling Center 24-Hour Crisis Hotline 518-725-5300.
- Greene County 24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline 518-943-9211.
- Legal Aid Society Northeastern New York Domestic Violence Legal Assistance Program Columbia and Greene counties 518-462-6765 or 1-800-462-2922; Fulton, Montgomery and Schoharie counties 518-842-9466 or 1-800-821-8347; Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties 518-587-5188 or 1-800-870-8343.
- Montgomery County Catholic Charities 24-Hour Crisis Hotline 518-842-3384.
- National Deaf Hotline Videophone Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 1-855-812-1001 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- National Domestic Violence 24 Hour Hotline 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).
- New York State Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline 1-800-942-6906. A text message can be sent to 1-844-997-2121. The Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence website also has a chat button where victims can be directed to a professional.
- Rensselaer County 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline 518-272-2370.
- Saratoga County Domestic Violence Hotline 518-584-8188. Department of Social Services Domestic Violence Unit available Monday-Friday 9 a.m .-5 p.m. 518-884-4159.
- Schenectady County YWCA of Schenectady’s Domestic Violence Program 24-Hour Hotline 518-374-3386.
- Schoharie County Catholic Charities 24-Hour Crisis Hotline 518-234-2231.
- Unity House Troy Domestic Violence Services Programs 24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline 518-272-2370, Textline 518-720-6161. Webchat is also available on their website.
- Warren County Victim Assistance Program 518-761-6475.
- Washington County District Attorney’s Office Crime Victim Assistance Program 518-746-2525.