LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- A Las Vegas nonprofit said they’ve seen an increase in domestic violence in the valley amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve seen a 10 percent increase in our hotline traffic,” SafeNest CEO Liz Ortenburger said.

Ortenburger said that stressors like unexpected childcare (i.e. kids being home from school) and financial difficulties (i.e. losing a job) can act as triggers in abusive households.

Their 24-hour crisis hotline is just one of the services they offer for both victims and batterers involved in domestic abuse.

“We have non-judgmental, confidential drop-in groups they can be part of to just say, hey, I’m feeling very on edge. I’m feeling like I’m going to lose it again. I’m feeling like I want to have control over my spouse, or I want to hit my kids because they won’t be quiet,” She said. “All these are things that can come up in that group program and those services are still available, just in a safe way with social distancing.”

Ortenburger said they’re having to make similar social distancing tweaks to their other services.

“All of our programs are being impacted but none of our programs have been scaled back or diminished in any way,” She said. “In most cases we’ve expanded.”

Classes and training programs continue online, and the hotline staff remains on standby 24 hours a day and they’re still transitioning people from abusive situations into better ones.

“With hotels not as functional as they were, we’re having to get creative in how we do that and we’ve found a great partner in Shared Village, formally Veteran’s Village, to work with in that space,” she said.

Ortenburgers told FOX5 SafeNest is equipped to ride out COVID-19 without compromising their services but will need help in the long run.

“Nonprofits like mine who are managed well will be fine for the next six months as we navigate this and the subsequent fallout from this, both emotionally and economically for a lot of people,” she said. “We will need donors to step up and fill the gap in fundraising.”



Copyright 2019 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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