COVID-19 has put a halt to a lot of things. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop domestic violence, sexual assault or the need to support the victims. A grant from the Watertown Relief Fund at the Watertown Area Community Foundation will help the Beacon Center remain a “light” for many during the pandemic and beyond.
The grant will support the Center’s implementation of Zoom so counselors can visit face to face with clients over the computer. “For those who came in for support, Zoom will help with the face-to-face piece,” said Beacon Center Executive Director Dawn Sikkink. “Sometimes they (clients) just need to see you. It’s about trust and feeling more comfortable. We’ve always offered that support before, but due to COVID-19, now we have to look at it a different way.” Other recent grants to the Beacon Center have assisted with a new computer, new telephone, apartment style rooms and supplies for COVID safety.
Beacon Center provided services for 753 clients last year. Sikkink says although we don’t know for sure how long COVID-19 will last, Zoom should help them support at least a couple hundred clients in the interim before things get back to normal. And when things do reach a level of normalcy, the Center will still be able to utilize Zoom during things like blizzards and normal sicknesses that have hindered counseling, as well as staff support, in the past.
The Zoom platform the center will be using is very secure and of good quality unlike some of the spotty “free” services the center has already tried. Up to 10 will be able to log-in so both counselors will be able to use Zoom at the same time.
“Domestic violence and sexual assault doesn’t stop,” Sikkink said, adding that the Center just checked in another victim this week. “We’re following the CDC guidelines, but we have to figure out a way to give them all the support they need to get through this (COVID-19) and whatever else they are going through.”