WXXI AM News

State offers text, chat assistance for domestic violence victims

May 14, 2020

Credit opdv.ny.gov

With reports of domestic violence in New York state up 30% in April compared to a year ago, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, there are new ways to help connect victims with the help they need.

The New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence has launched text and chat services.

Kelli Owens, executive director of the office, said victims are even more at risk when they are isolated at home during this coronavirus pandemic.

"Isolation has always been a tool of an abuser," Owens said. "And during this pandemic, people have not had a respite from their abuser."

Owens said the services have been in place for about two weeks, and they've already seen a spike in the number of people seeking help.

"We've had about just over 300 texts and chats, coming from all over the state," she said.

Owens told WXXI's Capitol Pressroom that those who reach out can get access to an advocate.

"That can help them find safe shelter, talk about their safety options, and really connect them to the services they need, during this time and even after this time," she said.

To receive help, text 844-997-2121 or start an online chat at the office's website, opdv.ny.gov