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Demand more than triples at state’s largest domestic violence shelter

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    ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KOAT) — Reports of domestic violence started surging in New Mexico in April, once stay-at-home orders were in full effect.

Safe House New Mexico, the largest domestic violence shelter in the state, says this pandemic is challenging for people who live in homes that are not safe.

“A lot of folks are in really dire situations where they cannot get away,” Patricia Gonzales, the shelter’s Executive Director tells KOAT. “Their abuser is there with them 24 hours a day.”

Gonzales says victims of domestic abuse have had to be strategic during this pandemic, figuring out ways to get away from home to make an emergency phone call for help in secret.

The shelter, located in Albuquerque at a secret location, usually serves 85-90 inside at a time.

Due to social distancing, capacity had to be cut in half, at the same time need for help sharply increased our state.

On a normal day, before the pandemic, the shelter’s crisis line received around 150 calls a day. Now, that’s up 220 more daily.

Pre-pandemic, Safe House would take in zero to two families daily into the shelter. Now, that’s up between six to nine families daily.

Gonzales says the shelter is now at capacity, so Safe House has enlisted help from four local hotels to help house people fleeing domestic violence.

These hotels, like the shelter itself, are secretly located to help protect the victims.

“Now we’re having to do case management on the phone, or case management at the hotel,” Gonzales says. “Delivering meals. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”

Staff at the state’s largest shelter expect need to continue to grow through the next few months, as stay-at-home orders stay in place.

They are actively working to fundraise and are accepting monetary donations, if you’re able to help. They are also receiving funding from the city, state, and federal CARES Act dollars to help pay for the extra hotel rooms, personal protective equipment, and cleaning supplies.

If you or a loved one are in a dangerous situation and need help:

Visit Safe House New Mexico’s website:
Call Safe House New Mexico’s hotline: 505-247-4219
If you are in a situation where you need to contact help in silence, send Safe House an email:
Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233

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Article Topic Follows: Regional News

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