From 2010 to 2018 the Bronx had the highest recorded rate of domestic violence homicides and in 2019, the borough also had 30,655 intimate partner domestic incident reports.
Additionally, calls to New York City’s 24-hour Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-621-HOPE (4673) were up 19 percent between April 1 and Sept. 27 this year compared to the same period in 2019, emphasizing the need for domestic violence support during the pandemic.
During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, allocated $223,000 on Oct. 14 for organizations that help victims of domestic violence.
“We know the providers that stand at my side today have been working around the clock remotely checking on families,” Gibson said. “Many of our families are living in dangerous situations. Domestic violence is physical, emotional and financial. Love should never hurt.”
In 2019, three of the precincts within her council district, the 42nd, 44th and 46th, reported a high volume of domestic violence-related complaints.
Gibson’s allocation went toward Urban Justice Center, Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, Violence Intervention Program, Sanctuary for Families, Urban Resource Institute, Urban Justice Center, SCAN Harbor, Day One, Her Justice, Sauti Yetu Center for African Women and Bronx Legal Services.
The councilwoman praised the nonprofits for the work they do, especially during the pandemic.
“Every day we have an opportunity to save a victim, that is our job to do,” Gibson said. “We want you to come forward. We will help you and walk with you every step of the way.”
Jelaine Altino, deputy clinical director of residential services at Sanctuary for Families, thanked Gibson for the financial assistance. Since its inception in 1992, Sanctuary for Families has served thousands of victims each year, including 2,500 from the Bronx in 2019.
“The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the barriers for survivors in their efforts to obtain safety and created new challenges for advocates,” Altino said. “Our shelters have continued to operate at near capacity.”
Jae Young Kim, director of family and immigration unit at Bronx Legal Services, said their clients have been very stressed during COVID-19. They are getting calls nonstop for help and many people are worried about obtaining orders of protection and not being able to go to court.
“COVID-19 has allowed for abusers to take advantage of unfortunate circumstances,” Young Kim said.