CARMEL, N.Y. - Domestic violence is a disease of isolation, often hidden in plain sight. These crimes are not limited by socio-economic level, they occur at all levels of education or wealth. One in four women, and one in nine men, experience severe physical violence, sexual violence , and/or stalking at the hand of an intimate partner. The results are injury, fearfulness, post-traumatic stress disorder, sexually transmitted diseases, and the necessity for victim services. Unfortunately, Putnam County is not immune to this social and public health problem and in times of crisis, these crimes rise as community stress rises. 

“Domestic violence is always with us, even here in Putnam County,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “We also have a strong network of resources and in critical times such as these, we pull together as a community and rise to the challenge. Our Women’s Resource Center is in full operation, still supporting their clients, new and old, despite the difficulties we all are facing.” 

Ann Ellsworth, executive director of the Westchester/Putnam Women’s Resource Center says it’s a particularly difficult time for victims experiencing domestic or sexual violence because in many cases they are trapped at home, social distancing, with their abuser with no respite during the COVID-19 shutdown.

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“Some of them are already our clients, and others may not yet have called,” she said. 

The Women’s Resource hotline remains fully operational despite the physical offices being closed. Staff continues to be available by phone from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, as well as at other times by appointment.

Remote services include crisis intervention, therapy, case management and victim advocacy. In-person services also continue with the emergency domestic violence shelter remaining open, fully staffed and operational, with all COVID -19 precautions in place. 

In addition, victim advocacy services are available in person in an emergency. All services can be accessed 24/7 via the hotline number 845-628-2166. 

“We know you are out there,” Ellsworth said. “Most importantly, we want you to be safe. We all know and realize that means waiting until the right time to call. We are here when you are ready, and when that moment comes, we can help you find a safe shelter and provide support.” 

The mission of the Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center is to provide advocacy, education, and services to the community in order to create a safe, supportive environment that eliminates violence against women and children and promotes gender equality. For more information, visit www.pnwwrc.org/ or go to the social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pnwwrc and on Twitter @PNWWRCNY. 

Article courtesy of the Putnam County Department of Health

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