YWCA’s Center for Safety and Empowerment seeing increase in phone calls

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TOPEKA, KAN. (KSNT) – A Topeka women’s advocacy group has seen an increase in calls since Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly issued a stay-at-home order statewide, according to its CEO.

Kathleen Marker with the Young Women’s Christian Association Center for Safety and Empowerment spoke on the rise in calls, and how they’re providing free and confidential services to victims of domestic and sexual violence, stalking and human trafficking while trying to stay safe.

“Our daycare center is open, and we are serving families whose jobs are essential and who have to show up for work,” Marker said. “For folks who need to file a protection from abuse order, we can handle a lot of it by phone and then we have them come in and sign the paperwork, but we do it with social distancing in mind. As far as our shelter, we are still sheltering folks who have suffered from domestic violence or sexual violence, and we want the public to know that we are still here to do that for them.”

The number of calls for the YWCA’s shelter gradually rose over time after the governor’s orders to prevent coronavirus spread, according to Marker.

“We saw in the first week it was very quiet here and our phones were very quiet,” Marker said. “We didn’t see as many people walking in. As we are looking at the numbers this week, we are starting to see an increase again of folks contacting us.”

The Center for Safety and Empowerment’s hours have changed to 9 p.m. to 5 p.m. Anyone can call the office during the day at 785-233-1750 for non-emergencies and the 24/7 hotline at 1-888-822-2983.

The center serves Shawnee, Jackson, and Wabaunsee Counties. If you live outside the YWCA service area and need help, click here.

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