LCSW, Clinical Manager, Outpatient Psychiatric Services at The Hospital of Central Connecticut
The numbers may not show it, but domestic violence has increased because of covid-19.
We are seeing this firsthand at the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) program, where we are doing everything we can to adjust to life in a pandemic.
Sadly, people are being forced to quarantine with their abusers, and in many cases have nowhere safe to go. Federally-funded by the Office of Victim Services, the program at The Hospital of Central Connecticut helps victims of domestic violence, childhood abuse or neglect, assault, sexual assault, elder abuse, stalking and harassment.
Free programs like VOCA are more important now than ever, as the isolation and financial stress associated with covid-19 has fueled more difficulties in relationships, and unfortunately violence.
Even before coronavirus, one in four women and one in 10 men experienced violence from an intimate partner. We are currently offering virtual services to ensure we are able to confidentially help people in the comfort of their homes or a location in which they are safe.
We know it isn’t easy for people who are essentially imprisoned with their abusers to seek help, especially now when there are fewer safe places to go because of covid. Other factors fueling violence in today’s world include job loss, substance abuse, and things we may have taken for granted in the past, such as the ability to go to the local gym to let off some steam.
If you need help, or know someone who does, please reach out. VOCA staff members are specifically trained to work with victims of violence, which ensures that the most up-to-date forms of treatment are provided, and confidentiality is ensured. Our clinicians work directly with each individual to set and achieve goals to increase hope, improve boundaries and identify safe coping skills.
In addition, our Victim’s Compensation Program offers financial support for certain needs such as emergency housing, food, clothing and other necessities.
We want victims of violence to know there is hope, they can rebuild their lives and there is a safe space to work towards a happy and healthy life.
For more information on the VOCA program, call The Hospital of Central Connecticut Counseling Center at 860.224.5267.
KimHughey, LCSW, is a clinical manager, Outpatient Psychiatric Services at The Hospital of Central Connecticut.