December 2, 2021

Fundraiser to benefit domestic violence victims

Number of calls to hotline up 40% during pandemic

The baskets line a pair of tables in the lobby of the YWCA in Cortland, a purple-topped container in front of each to hold tickets.

They’re for a fundraiser to support the YWCA’s Aid to Victims of Violence program, but they’re a reminder of a spike in calls to the programs hotline and in the number of court orders of protection issued since the coronavirus pandemic began last March.

Calls to the hotline show an annualized 40% increase since the pandemic began; police reports of domestic violence incidence in the city are up 30%.

A hand-made wooden dollhouse anchors one end, built by Duke Glover, Linda Glover’s brother-in-law. A basket for a special prize, a week at a lakeside cottage on the south end of Skaneateles Lake, rests at the other.

Between them, and on other tables, are baskets of wine and chocolate, stuffed animals and toys. One basket features items for babies; another passes to Greek Peak’s Adventure
Park and Cascade Indoor Water Park. One features local products, from Coffee Mania, Trinity Valley Dairy and Hollenbeck’s Cider Mill. An air fryer and other kitchen appliances are tucked into the corners.

All of the baskets are part of a fundraiser for Aid to Victims of violence, a program to help people who were victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse or other crimes.

This year — in particular during the coronavirus pandemic — there has been an increase in both calls to the Aid to Victims of Violence hotline and filing orders of protection through the courts, said Linda Glover, the program’s director.

“That’s probably tripled,” she said about the order of protection requests.

However, she said the pandemic did offer one benefit — victims don’t need to go to the courthouse to get orders of protection; they can do it virtually. The change has made it less stressful for victims.

Glover said she can’t speak for whether the courts will continue doing that. “We of course would love to stay like this forever.”

“Our cases now are being scheduled into November and December and they’re still planning to do it this way,” Glover said.

Hotline calls have also gone up. In a six-month period since shutdown in mid-March, the program responded to 2,800 calls to its crisis hotline.

Last year, the program fielded about 4,000 calls the entire year, so it is seeing an increase in domestic violence incidents in the community.

“Holy cow,” Glover said. “I think because people are at home their phone is the way to communicate, people aren’t coming in much.”

City police Lt. David Guerrera said the department has seen about the same number of calls for service that were originally reported as a domestic incident but actually aren’t as last year. However, reports taken for domestic violence incidents are up 29%.


Get help

A 24-hour crisis hotline is available at:
• 800-336-9622
• 607-756-6363
• Message via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/YWCAAVV

The raffles

Tickets can be purchased at the YWCA’s front desk located at 14 Clayton Ave., Cortland

Tickets for baskets one through 18 are $1 each or an arm’s length for $5 and tickets for basket 19 are $3 or four for $9. Winning tickets will be drawn Monday.

To donate

Visit https://secure.lglforms.com/form_engine/s/OdPnTYKvd9tApoL_nmSdTw


Guerrera said that from March of this year to Tuesday there were 183 domestic incidents compared to the same time last year when there were 142 reports.

Guerrera said that people being around each other for longer periods of time had likely led to the increase.

“When people are together for a long period of time they have squabbles and those turn into fights,” he said.

Guerrera said when police arrive at a call, they determine whether there is any immediate danger to anyone or if a felony was committed.

If children are involved, police notify the state’s child abuse hotline.

“We’re not required to make an arrest unless the person is in danger or a felony has been committed,” he said. “It’s up to what has happened and what the victim desires. In most cases, we need that victim’s cooperation. It’s very hard to prosecute without the victim’s cooperation.”