COVID-19: Agency Updates

As the current Coronavirus & COVID-19 public health crisis continues to evolve the Advocacy Center is all too aware of the impact it will have on our community, survivors, and some of our most vulnerable populations. With this in mind, we will be utilizing this page to communicate any updates to agency services, relevant information for survivors, and needs for the agency and/or those we serve. For any questions or immediate assistance please contact our 24 hour hotline (607-277-5000) to speak with an advocate.  

Navigating COVID-19 Together: Agency Update (3/27/20)

Dear Community Members,

As the current COVID-19 public health crisis continues to evolve, the Advocacy Center is all too aware of the impact it will have on survivors, our community, and our most vulnerable populations. With this in mind, we will continue to communicate updates to agency services, important information for survivors, and needs for the agency and those we serve.

We recognize that many people in our community have increased need for assistance with resources such as food, childcare, medical access, or housing. We encourage people to contact Tompkins/Cortland 211 for the most updated information about available community resources.

Most of our staff are working remotely and continuing our core services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.  We know that the current crisis can increase isolation, many victims are cut off from support, and they may be sheltering in place with people who are not safe for them or their children. Survivors who have safe housing may feel triggered by the isolation and anxiety. Our 24 hour hotline remains open (607-277-5000) for emotional support, help with practical needs, and crisis intervention.  Our confidential Domestic Violence Shelter remains open and staffed by a limited number of advocates.

Our staff has risen to this challenge to do everything we can to make sure that survivors in our community have options, support and hope during this pandemic.  We will need the support of our community as we move through this crisis. To support our work you can:

Make a Gift. We anticipate losing at least $40,000 this spring due to the pandemic.  A gift of any amount will help us continue to meet community needs.

Donate Items That Support our Work. Check out our wish list on Amazon for items needed at the shelter or the child interview room.

Help Us Educate Our Community. In the next week, we’ll be creating a new section on our website with important information for survivors–like the safety planning information below. Follow us on social media, share our posts, and help us make sure survivors and the people who care about them see this info.

Heather Campbell, Executive Director, & the Advocacy Center Staff

Safety Planning During Crisis

Domestic violence and abuse happens in the home, so when the response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis is to encourage people to quarantine themselves at home, victims of abuse can be more isolated and cut off from support. During this time, the Advocacy Center is doing everything we can to ensure that our services continue through a virtual service delivery model. Here are some tips you can use if you are quarantined with someone who abuses you and how we can help. Our hotline advocates are available 24/7 to help you make a plan. Please don’t hesitate to call!
1) Create a Safety Plan:  safety plan is a strategy to minimize risks and to reduce the risk of harm in unsafe situations. For example, If there is an argument, identify an area of the home you can move to where there are no weapons and there may be a way for you to leave the house, apartment, or building. You may want to make an “exit plan” in case you had to leave suddenly. What are the important things you would want to bring with you? Who could you call for help?  You know your situation better than anyone, so please individualize your safety plan to what feels safest for you. If something does not feel safe, trust your instincts. It can also be helpful to go over your safety plan with a trusted friend, relative or advocate.

2) Stay Connected and Use the Buddy System: It’s difficult to be isolated during sheltering in place because of COVID-19, especially if you are at home with the person abusing you. Stay connected with your support system via phone calls or text, social media or video chats (only if using technology is safe and not monitored and controlled by your abuser). Identify at least two people that you can contact with a “code word” to let them know if you are in trouble, or let them know if they don’t hear from you by a certain day/time to send help. Plan in advance what they should do if you send them the code word.

3) Know There is Help. At the Advocacy Center, we are making sure that our services remain available to you, especially  during the COVID-19 crisis. Our 24/7 Hotline 607-277-5000 is open to all survivors, whether you need a listening ear or linkages to local resources that are available during the pandemic. Our Domestic Violence Shelter is also still open. We are still providing a safe space for people in danger and can provide you with basic needs. Please don’t hesitate to call our 24/7 Hotline whenever you need us. We are always here for you

Sanctuary for Families
Safe Horizon

Message from the Advocacy Center, 3/17/2020:

Dear Community Members, 

Given the urgency of the global and local COVID-19 crisis the Advocacy Center is taking action focused on public health and the safety of our clients with the goal of doing what we can to protect our staff, clients, and our community.  Important information to know- 

Services are available for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and child sexual abuse.  Starting today we are moving to a virtual advocacy model and will be communicating with clients over the phone, text, and video.  Advocates are always available through our 24 hour hotline (607-277-5000) and this will be the fastest way to reach an advocate.  

Our Domestic Violence Shelter is open.  We continue to provide confidential shelter to victims and their children. Please use the hotline if there is a domestic violence victim needing a shelter assessment.  

We are closing our administrative office through 4/12. Starting Tuesday 3/16 our office phone will be answered from 9a-1p, Monday through Friday.  Staff are always available through the hotline. Staff voice mail will be checked daily. Most staff will be working remotely so consider email for administrative matters or general questions.  

We are cancelling or postponing Education events, workshops, and community events until further notice. If you have a program scheduled with us you will be hearing from education staff soon. 

Current event cancellations/postponements:

  • CANCELLED: Agency Celebration scheduled for 3/25/2020
  • POSTPONED: 2 Day WenDo Women’s Self Defense Course scheduled for 4/4/2020 & 4/5/2020
  • POSTPONED: Take Back the Night March & Rally scheduled for 4/24/2020

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us asking about needs for our staff and clients, follow this page for updates about our needs.  The impact on our community will likely ripple for months and we will have a better sense of the ways that you can support the agency and our clients as we begin to move through this crisis. 

Heather Campbell, Executive Director, & the Advocacy Center Staff

Community Resources:

We recognize that many of those in our community, those accessing our services and others, will have an increased need for assistance with resources such as food, childcare, medical access, or housing assistance. Our community is responding as quickly as possible. We encourage individuals to contact Tompkins/Cortland 211 for specific available resources.