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COVID-19 Pandemic Aftermath Serves As New Beginning For Domestic Violence Survivors

Safe Horizon, the nation’s largest victim service agency, sees an increased number of survivors seeking to rebuild and move their lives forward.

October 1, 2022
Contact:, 646-306-1136

NEW YORK – As the pandemic lessens and New York City returns to more “normal” operations, survivors are increasingly seeking help to exit dangerous and abusive situations. Safe Horizon, the nation’s largest nonprofit victim services agency, cites increased requests from survivors for shelter and access to free legal resources at its Domestic Violence Law Project.

Safe Horizon advocates attribute the shift to the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following lockdowns and other safety threats, domestic violence survivors are now finding themselves rebuilding, taking action against the obstacles that deterred them over the past two years.

The months of August and September, with the close of summer and the start of school, often lead to increased requests for support from domestic violence survivors. In 2020 and 2021, Safe Horizon did not see that same season uptick because of COVID.

As pandemic recovery continues, requests have shifted back to pre-pandemic levels. Safe Horizon’s shelter requests are currently up 20% from 2020. Safe Horizon’s Domestic Violence Law Project is also experiencing an increase in requests for support with orders of protection, custody, child support, and divorce as the recovery continues.

Between the beginning of the pandemic and the end of August 2022, Safe Horizon’s 24/7 hotline, 1-800-621-HOPE, has answered over 200,000 calls from survivors to provide safety planning, shelter placement, and a support system when they need it most. Staff also communicated with survivors through SafeChat digital chat.

“The challenges of the pandemic, including safety concerns and the uncertainty it brought, unfortunately, impacted the ability of many survivors to move forward with accessing resources to rebuild their lives. This shift in the pandemic provides an opportunity for survivors to feel empowered to take advantage of services such as Safe Horizon to support their journey to healing and creating a new life for their families,” said Liz Roberts, Safe Horizon CEO.

“The decision to move into shelters is never an easy one for survivors to make, and the onset of the pandemic brought new risks and challenges. The trials of the pandemic — including lockdowns, availability of vaccines, new variants, mental health strain from isolation, and more — presented new stressors that weighed heavily on survivors. This new point of the pandemic presents a reset and renewed confidence for survivors to take the next step in moving their lives forward from crisis,” said Kelly Coyne, Safe Horizon, Deputy Chief Program Officer.

Safe Horizon is dedicated to ensuring survivors are fully supported with safety resources and access to assist them with reaching their goals of rebuilding their lives. For more information on Safe Horizon’s resources, call our hotline, 1-800-621-HOPE.

About Safe Horizon

Established in 1978, Safe Horizon is the largest non-profit victim services agency in the United States. It touches the lives of more than 250,000 children, adults, and families affected by crime and abuse throughout New York City each year. Safe Horizon envisions a society free of family and community violence, leading the way by empowering victims of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, and human trafficking to move from crisis to confidence. Safe Horizon’s mission is to provide support, prevent violence and promote justice for victims of crime and abuse, their families, and communities.

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