Pandemic hampers efforts of organizations dedicated to helping domestic violence victims

Buckley Report

The pandemic had inconvenienced all of us, to a degree.

But, for victims of domestic violence, it can be the difference between life and death.

“In 2020, Guilford County domestic violence-related homicides rose 250% and that is just staggering considering that when the Family Justice Center was put in place and all of the partners like Family Services of the Piedmont came to the table to mitigate the problem and then it’s like all the hard work that we made, domestic violence homicides go down and then a pandemic happened – I don’t want to say it erases all the work but it definitely set us back,” says Audrie Sa, of Family Services of the Piedmont.

It was certainly tough on one former Family Services client.

“I didn’t even have a backup plan, I just knew I needed to get away,” she says.

This woman did get away with her young son and lived at Family Services’ Carpenter House shelter until she could get back on her feet, which she now is.

“I’m in school, full-time, to become a paralegal,” says the former client.

COVID has made it difficult for Family Services and Carpenter House to do their work.

“It’s like everything is stuck,” Sa said. “Once one piece of the wheel stops turning, the next piece can’t move to that piece and the next piece – so, for example, the court system has had to delay so many things due to either outbreaks or just COVID policy and rethinking how we do everything and it’s delayed people’s court cases. And, if you’ve got a speeding ticket, that’s one thing but when it’s delaying an assault on a female or assault with a deadly weapon and those people aren’t being held in jail because they don’t want to hold anybody in jail because of COVID, these people are out there on the streets.”

Meet their former client and hear what lessons the pandemic has taught them all in this edition of the Buckley Report.

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