Dear friends, partners and members of our cherished community,
We are writing today with an important update about services provided by member organizations of the Vermont Network during the COVID-19 crisis.
The 15 member organizations of the Vermont Network are committed to providing the best services to communities throughout Vermont. Member organizations are also carefully considering the advisories from the Vermont Department of Health and the CDC, and taking significant precautions to protect those they serve and their teams of staff members, volunteers and board members.
Hotlines and shelters will remain open. People impacted by sexual and domestic violence can still access the support of an advocate during a sexual assault forensic exam, when requesting a relief from abuse order, and for help accessing other crucial resources. Member organizations of the Vermont Network are putting systems in place to be able to provide remote advocacy as much as possible, using phone, video and other strategies to connect with and support people who need help.
Member organizations of the Vermont Network are working together with many others in their communities to coordinate efforts, plan for what lies ahead and get crucial resources to people experiencing health, financial and other impacts. Organizations serving people who are homeless or at risk of losing their housing are part of a statewide strategy to ensure there are safe places for people to stay if they are at high risk from COVID-19, or if they need to self-quarantine. The Vermont Network is also actively working with administrative and legislative officials to ensure that the needs of victims of domestic and sexual violence are being addressed during this crisis.
The impact of COVID-19 has spread rapidly around the world. All of us need to take an active role in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting members of our communities who are most vulnerable. The Vermont Network and our 15 member organizations know that domestic and sexual violence take no break at times like these. In fact, people impacted by violence and abuse are likely to experience additional stressors with lost work, closed schools and social isolation.
With new information every day, responses are evolving rapidly. We will communicate about changes in how the Vermont Network and our member organizations are responding.
During this difficult time, our connections with each other are more important than ever. We are sustained by our loving community of organizations, advocates and partners. We welcome anyone who would like to be in community with us, in service of a shared purpose.
Karen Tronsgard-Scott, Executive Director