LAS VEGAS — The COVID-19 pandemic has sent people home to shelter in place. Unfortunately, data shows, home sometimes offers neither comfort nor peace, but instead puts victims living with an abusive partner or parent at greater risk of domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault. The coronavirus crisis’ economic chaos and dread may also have spurred new crime, including increased sex trafficking.
Several Southern Nevada nonprofits have formed a Hidden Violence Coalition to help physical, sexual and emotional abuse victims. During this pandemic, three of the charities involved – The Cupcake Girls, SafeNest, and St. Jude’s Ranch for Children – are partnering to grow awareness and support of these victims who are not only hidden but often must stay silent.
“In this time of community crisis, hidden violence is on the rise, and there are many homes that aren’t safe to stay inside,” said St. Jude’s Ranch for Children’s CEO Christina Vela. “Our goal is to make sure COVID-19 is not another childhood trauma for children and youth that have a hypersensitivity to crisis. That is why we are linking arms with The Cupcake Girls and SafeNest.”
The data is in, the CEOs said, and it shows that hidden violence is increasing.
● USA Today reported in March that emergency calls for domestic violence aid rose 10% to 30% over a three-week period
● Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo recently cited a 13% increase in domestic disturbance calls for service
● The Cupcake Girls report a 300% increase in client calls and support requests since March 12th
“Calls to our 24/7 crisis hotline are up 10% since the stay-at-home order for Nevada was put in place,” said SafeNest CEO, Liz Ortenburger. “It’s critical, now more than ever, that we raise awareness and resources to help and support victims of hidden violence in our community.”
Donating even a small percentage of stimulus money can go a long way toward delivering relief.
Giving 20 percent of an individual’s $1,200 check, for example, would provide a night of emergency shelter for a woman, child and a pet.
“Working with SafeNest and St. Jude’s Ranch for Children to cultivate community collaboration over competition in fighting hidden violence together has been a gift,” said Joy Hoover, The Cupcake Girls CEO. “ Together we are building bridges for folks in our communities that are overlooked and underserved.”
Giving 20 percent of the $2,400 awarded to married couples who file taxes jointly, could provide an emergency grant for a victim fleeing a trafficker.
That same 20 percent of a joint-tax filing couple with children’s check could provide medical, legal, mental health or intensive case management for a month for someone suffering from sexual assault.
“For those who are able to donate during these uncertain times, be part of something bigger than yourself,” Hoover says on the video. “Shine your light, share your check, and walk alongside us as we navigate this storm together.”
Visit thecupcakegirls.org/sharemycheck to watch the video and learn more about the program.
For media inquiries about their collaboration and their charities’ services, please contact Joy Hoover with The Cupcake Girls: 702-232-1098, Susan Somers on behalf of Liz Ortenberger and SafeNest: 702-249-9900, Paige Candee on behalf of Christina Vela and St. Judes Ranch for Children 702-850-5511.