Tides of Change is adjusting their services during the current pandemic to continue to serve those in need.
During times of crisis, such as COVID-19, survivors are going to tend to stay in place in their relationships largely because of lack of options and being told to shelter in place, said Valerie Bundy, executive director of Tides of Change. Isolation and financial distress are two factors that contribute to the escalation of domestic violence and can increase lethality.
“It is important to know that these factors are not causes of domestic violence and typically some level of violence already exists in the relationship/home,” Bundy said. “We know through experience that once the crisis begins to stabilize is when survivors will start seeking services.”
Bundy said Tides of Change has had a decrease in survivors accessing the office this week and are expecting that will be inundated with requests for help after the stay in place orders become lifted. Not knowing how long this crisis will last is the most concerning for the staff regarding survivors and their safety.
Bundy said Tides of Change is no longer having walk-in services for the safety of the staff. The staff, including the advocate and counselor, are working remotely.
“The advocates will determine through the phone if a crisis requires an in-person response depending on the scenario,” Bundy said. “Thankfully we have the use of technology for our staff to work remotely.”
Tides of Change has a close relationship with all law enforcement in Tillamook County through a protocol called Advocacy Initiated Response (AIR).
“Our law enforcement activates the AIR protocol any time they respond to a domestic violence call, which connects the victim to an advocate immediately,” Bundy said.
Tides of Change will continue to have limited crisis and counseling services available to survivors in the community, Bundy said. The counselor continues to provide ongoing sessions to her current clients through phone and video options. For children, she provided play therapy. She is scheduling check-in phone calls for those that want to stay in contact.
“Our advocates are scheduling appointments with survivors over the phone and they are answering our helpline as normal,” Bundy said. “Advocates will be able to provide support, safety planning and resources.”
Assistance with obtaining protective orders will be discussed on a case by case basis between the advocate and survivor. Bundy said they are taking this crisis week by week and adjusting their services as they see fit.
Their emergency shelter is at capacity and they expect that the current residents will need to reside in the program longer, due to this crisis and lack of options to move out of the shelter at this time. Their shelter houses up to six households at a time. A household can be between one to six people depending on the number of children with the survivor. All six rooms are occupied at this time.
Tides of Change is not accepting in-kind donations at this time for the safety of their employees; however, for those wanting to support them financially can do so through their website at https://www.tidesofchangenw.org/ where you can contribute online or by mailing a check to PO Box 187, Tillamook, OR.