MCEDV is pleased to be the recipient of $27,791 through the Maine Women’s Fund’s Safety First for Women’s Fund. The money will be distributed directly to MCEDV’s nine member programs throughout the state to support their efforts to keep survivors of domestic abuse and violence safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maine Women’s Fund Executive Director Kimberly Crichten says in a release, “Over our 30-year history, approximately 30% of our giving has focused on improving personal safety and ending violence. The Safety First for Women Fund is a rapid-response emergency fund that reflects the Maine Women’s Fund’s long-term commitment to ending violence for those living in all the communities we serve.”
“We are deeply grateful for the Maine Women’s Fund’s attention to survivors at this time,” says MCEDV Executive Director Francine Garland Stark. “COVID-19 has exposed not just the particular risks posed by abusive people during this moment, but the kind of danger that survivors of domestic abuse and violence face every day.”
Domestic violence programs have all seen costs increase during the pandemic as they transitioned quickly to remote work and service provision. Many programs have moved to provide services online. The cost of secure platforms that meet federal confidentiality requirements can be substantial.
Sheltering survivors in the pandemic, which has involved placing more people in hotels where they can be safe from both their abusers and the risks of transmission that exists in traditional communal shelters, has also been costly. As programs plan to re-open outreach sites across the state and begin recommencing face-to-face services, they need to stock adequate Personal Protective Equipment and cleaning supplies.
Funds raised will help cover these expenses and will provide essential private “match” funds that allow Maine programs to access federal funding, as well. Safety First for Women Fund recipients also includes the Maine Council on Aging and the Wabanaki Women’s Coalition, Maine’s tribal domestic, and sexual violence coalition. Contributions to the fund that benefits MCEDV’s membership came from individuals and foundations, including the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation.
Says Stark, “People have been so generous. Helping programs adapt so they can continue to meet survivors’ needs during this public health crisis is critical.”