Domestic Abuse Services
Domestic violence continues to the be most reported violent crime in Greenwich. Our Domestic Abuse Services staff provided direct service to 630 people during fiscal year 20 and provided a total of 1,172 bed nights of emergency shelter, up 180% over the previous year. Even when YWCA Greenwich closed its doors in mid-March, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Domestic Abuse Services provided uninterrupted service by telephone and secure video conferencing. In this past challenging year, YWCA Greenwich Domestic Abuse Services has see a dramatic increase in the services that we have provided. Crisis intervention services increase by 242% from FY19 to FY20 (981 to 3,352) and safety planning increasing by 92%. While trapped at home with their abuser, victims were calling our hotline while hidden in closets or bathrooms or calling in the middle of the night. Calls to our hotline increased by 42% from 3,700 to 5,300. When courts closed for in-person filings and procedures, we worked with clients to file restraining orders online. As restrictions have loosened and people are emerging from home, we are seeing a surge in demand that we expect will continue through the new year. We are grateful to all who have supported these important, free, lifesaving programs.
October: Domestic Violence Prevention and Awareness Month
During the month of October, YWCA Greenwich works to raise visibility and funds to support Domestic Abuse Services programs. The following events were featured in October 2019:
Walk the Walk Against Domestic Violence
Over 300 people joined together on Oct 3, 2019 in a walk around Bruce Park to show their support and raise funds for victims of domestic violence. Our first annual Walk the Walk, led by co-chairs, Christine Petta Kelland of Wells Fargo; Board Members Andy Sisca and Kim Wise; First Selectman Peter Tesei; and GHS Football Coach Tony Morello, was a huge success, surpassing both fundraising and participation goals. Walkers, young and old, brought dogs and strollers for wonderful stroll through the park.
Professor Susan Sorenson
Domestic Violence Prevention and Awareness Month closed with a visit by Dr. Susan Sorenson, professor at University of Pennsylvania and Director of the Evelyn Jacobs Ortner Center, who discussed domestic violence as a public heath crisis with a particular emphasis on gun violence.
(17 adults and 15 children)
A signature event for YWCA Greenwich’s commemoration of Domestic Violence Prevention and Awareness Month is our Vigil, where we memorialize those we lost in Connecticut to domestic violence over the past year. This moving event also features a survivor speaker and the presentation of the Purple Ribbon Award to a member of the community who has made an extraordinary contribution to the helping victims of DV. This year’s honoree, Patrick Mooney, developed a financial literacy course to help survivors stabilize their personal finances.
Privy Project & Pizza Box stickers
To help connect victims to services, the Domestic Abuse Services Committee of the Board, led by Jane Batkin, developed the Privy Project where volunteers go out into the community to place informational placards, in Spanish and English in restroom stalls. The privacy in a restroom allows victims to read about domestic violence and how to connect to help. To further connect with victims of domestic abuse, our DAS staff created a sticker which Arcuri’s Pizza & Salad places on boxes of each of the 1,800 pizzas they serve weekly. We are grateful to the Jamie Arcuri and his staff for helping with this project.
Old Bags Luncheon
YWCA Greenwich’s 15th Annual Old Bags Luncheon, a signature event to support Domestic Abuse Services, was scheduled for May 7th. Co-chairs Gretchen Bylow, Connie Anne Harris, Lauren Walsh and Judith Wertheimer quickly pivoted to change this event to fully virtual to comply with restrictions prohibiting large gatherings. Over 400 people participated in the event which feature auctions of new and gently used handbags as well as a panel discussion with YWCA Greenwich Domestic Abuse Staff. Please click below to view the video presentations.
Co-Chairs Connie Anne Harris, Lauren Walsh, Gretchen Bylow, Judith Wertheimer
YNET and Prevention Education
Along with the direct service to victims provided by YWCA Greenwich Domestic Abuse Services Staff, the YWCA Prevention Education Team works throughout the school district to teach youth about healthy relationships. Work is done in classrooms in Greenwich Public Schools and in an after school setting with YNET, a GHS club led by YWCA staffer, Lexxie Anderson. This year, YNET spearheaded events during Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month in February with a kick off and proclamation with First Selectman Fred Camillo and an event featuring Kane Smego, a spoken-word poet and hip hop artist who led a presentation on teens and relationships.