Regional Victim Crisis Center in Abilene goes digital to help abuse victims during COVID-19 pandemic

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — Due to the coronavirus, today’s way of life is anything but normal, and staying at home might not be safe for victims of abuse. The Regional Victim Crisis Center is making sure victims can get the help they need during the lockdown.

“If someone is a victim of violence, and they need help, we can help them,” said Executive Director of the Regional Victim Crisis Center Janey Wawerna.

To flatten the curve and slow down the spread of COVID-19, it is important for everyone to stay at home. Indirectly, staying at home could put abuse victims at risk of more abuse.

“Although home is a safe place for most people right now and where they want to be, that’s not true all the time for survivors, or people in domestic violence situations, or child abuse, child sexual abuse,” said Clinical Director of the Regional Victim Crisis Center Monica Reid.

Counselors are video chatting and speaking over the phone with victims, and so far they have had positive responses from all ages.

“Kids love it. They know technology better than us a lot of times, and we’re even seeing some clients disclose more than maybe what they were doing, and being even a little bit more open than in our face-to-face sessions,” said Reid.

During this pandemic, the Regional Victim Crisis Center has been using social media even more than usual to let people know they are still here and ready to help anyone in need.

“To give parents, teens, different age groups the tools they need to enlighten themselves, educate themselves, know who to ask for help if there’s an issue,” said Wawerna.

While the coronavirus is forcing the Regional Victim Crisis Center to make major adjustments to their counseling protocol, it has given them the opportunity to expand, and develop skills they can use to help victims moving forward.

“A lot more creative, innovative things that are happening because of necessity. That’s cool. I think that’s a neat thing that’s gonna give us more ideas, more resources, just more ways to reach people, more ways for them to reach our services,” said Reid.

If you are someone who needs help, you can always call the RVCC’s 24/7 Victim Crisis Hotline. The number is: 325-677-7895.

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