October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The director of the Crime Victims Assistance Center Raini Baudendistel is the guest on the weekly, local public affairs program, Southern Tier Close Up to talk about how the agency is continuing to offer assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News
Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

Baudendistel says the number of cases handled by the agency, including child advocacy in Broome and Chenango Counties, has remained steady during the outbreak, lockdown and efforts toward recovery.  However, tracking the number of cases has been very different with many victims confined with their abuser.

The CVAC director adds that many times an abusive relationship is characterized by one member controlling the victim and grooming them to believe they can't live outside the bad relationship.

CVAC recently has started a live chat feature online that allows a victim to quietly talk with a counselor without someone else hearing them and dealing out punishment.

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While the pandemic has drastically altered operations, CVAC is still open, the crisis line is still operating 24-hours-a-day and counselors are available to offer advice to anyone who reaches out.

The work is going on in spite of state funding not coming through and fundraising events and opportunities being canceled due to the pandemic.

Baudendistel stresses the agency does not tell people what to do but will provide information about options and services that are available.

A new way people can support the work to help victims of crime in the region is by purchasing purple face masks for $10 for 10.

Residents of Broome and Chenango Counties can access services, including the live chat option with a CVAC advocate at www.cvac.us. Purple masks can also be purchased through the website and the Crime Victims Facebook page.

The 24/7 Crisis Line is (607) 722-4256.  The office in Binghamton can be reached by calling (607) 723-3200.

Southern Tier Close Up is heard Saturdays ta 12:04 p.m. on News Radio 1290 WNBF and anytime on the WNBF podcast.

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