As local domestic violence calls rise, SAFE Shelter seeks community help

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – SAFE Shelter Center for Domestic Violence Services is asking the Savannah community for help raising $300,000 to keep serving victims of domestic violence amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

SAFE Shelter says the organization is facing a 35% reduction of funding from across-the-board cuts in state air and the cancellation of all its fundraising events.

“Last year we helped more than 1,300 victims, including about 500 children, receive services,” said Cheryl Branch, executive director. “This year, domestic violence calls have risen nearly 20% since March in Chatham County due to the COVID virus. If history repeats itself, SAFE Shelter will experience another sharp uptick in the victim population as the summer heat progresses.”

Since 1979, SAFE Shelter has provided lifesaving services to victims of domestic violence and their children, totally free of charge. On average, SAFE Shelter says it costs about $150 a week to feed a mother and three children. That doesn’t include the cost of additional assistance like mental, legal and social services.

“For victims of domestic violence, quarantine means there’s nowhere to go.” Branch said. “In up to 60% of situations in which there is intimate partner violence, the perpetrator also abuses children in the household.”

SAFE Shelter’s annual giving gala was scheduled for Nov. 21, but has been postponed indefinitely due the coronavirus. The gala typically raises over $200,000 through sponsorships, live and silent auctions, and individual donations.

To meet this year’s shortfall, Branch is asking the public to help SAFE shelter continue its work by donating in someone’s honor. Financial donations can include memorials or recognizing birthdays of loved ones, anniversaries, and more.

SAFE Shelter says it will acknowledge gifts with a special message from the gift giver.

Tax-deductible contributions can be mailed to SAFE Shelter, P.O. Box 61119, Savannah, GA 31420. To donate online, click here.

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