Domestic violence and sexual assault center saw effects of Covid pandemic

BEATRICE – A non-profit that addresses sexual assault and domestic violence cases served over 500 persons in 2020.  Hope Crisis Center is co-located with Blue Valley Community Action in Beatrice. Hope Crisis Executive Director Carmen Hinman says the organization serves seven counties and has a 24-7 hotline to help those in crisis.

"Community education is a large piece of our programming. If we are not out talking about it, obviously there's no way for us to end the cycle to violence."

Hinman says Hope Crisis Center also has an educational component in most of the area’s schools. The center often learns of domestic violence cases through the help of schools.

"We really believe in collaborating with other providers and connecting individuals with other resources, especially maybe if there are certain needs that are not our area of expertise."

Of the 507 individuals served last year, included were 98 children and 56 minority adults. Shelter was provided for 40 people and 44 children. Hinman says the services included a total of 900 nights of shelter and almost 4,000 hotline calls fielded.  "I'm proud to share that our program did not shut our doors during the Covid pandemic. As someone who feels really strongly about our mission and that we are a 24-hour service provider, it was important for our program to keep our doors open."

Domestic violence cases the center saw skyrocketed in June and July last year, as the pandemic restrictions were taking hold.  "During that time, what we experienced as a program, was the level of physical violence that was coming through our doors, was things that we hadn't seen in a number of years. The level of severity definitely was heightened."

Hope Crisis Center has a capital campaign going on called Building Hope… seeking to find shelter spaces in the area.