Patricia Hart, executive director, Womanspace.

I wanted to reach out and let you know how things are being impacted here at Womanspace as a result of COVID-19. Certainly, these are surreal and unprecedented times for us all.

One of the things we notice is that both domestic violence and sexual assault hotline calls are down. People are surprised by that, but If you are confined to the house with someone who is threatening or violent, the route to escape is blocked. If you felt like there was no escape before that reality has just exponentially increased.

For sexual assault victims, who would normally go to the hospital, that option seems even more scary than before. Hospitals are overwhelmed with virus victims and it may not feel very safe to go there. The normal course of events would have an advocate on site with the victim but now, that is not possible. The complications for victims during this pandemic are compounded.

At Womanspace we are committed to being available when someone does reach out. Our Safe House remains open and staffed 24-7 and our Transitional Housing Program is fully functioning. Three hotlines are available: the Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-572-SAFE; Mercer County Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence Hotlines, 609-394-9000. Our texting hotline for Deaf and Hard of Hearing 609-619-1888. If you reach out to us, we are here.

In order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Womanspace’s Administrative and Counseling Offices have been closed since March 16 and will remain closed until further notice. This was done in accordance with Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 107. We will also be unable to accept noncash donations at this time.

Hannah and Morgan Hart of Hamilton creating a “make your own mask” station for Womanspace’s Safe House and Barbara’s House. (Facebook photo.)

If it is safe to do so, counselors will be touch with their clients and all counseling phone messages will be checked daily. Counseling is being offered to all clients who wish to participate via telephone.

For administrative matters, please call and leave a message or leave your question at info@womanspace.org. Both voicemail and email will be checked regularly. All administrative staff are working remotely and accessible via email.

The safety and health of our staff and clients is our first priority. We will closely monitor the situation, making weekly decisions based on instruction from the Governor’s Office. Follow our Womanspace Facebook and Instagram pages and Twitter feed or check out our website. All of those sites will carry the latest information about the agency.

Thank you for all the support we have received. We ask if you have masks or gloves to spare, Womanspace staff and clients are in need of them.

Things like Clorox wipes and Lysol spray are needed to keep our facility sterile and our families safe. Cash donations are always welcome as they help us to absorb the cost of maintaining a 24-hour presence during this major health crisis.

This is a time that we must all stick together. Here in the State of New Jersey and in Mercer County we witness outstanding examples of what being part of a community really means.