How COVID-19 is Affecting Domestic Violence Survivors

The Center for Pan Asian Community Services is an AWF Promoting Women’s Mental Health & Wellbeing grantee and a recipient of the first round of COVID-19 Grantee Relief funds. Alnory Gutlay, Programs Director for the Domestic Violence Department and HIV, shares how COVID-19 is impacting CPACS’ clients and how the organization has adapted its services.

The Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS) is the first and largest organization in the Southeast that concentrates in tackling issues concerning Asian Americans and other underserved communities. Our diverse staff offers services in 25 different languages, both Asian and non-Asian. As an organization, CPACS averages over 6,200 clients a month since 2019, serving them through SNAP application assistance, voter registration, transportation assistance, senior programs, and domestic violence survivor services to name a few.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected domestic violence survivors in a number of ways. The shelter in place order alone increased proximity of survivors and their dependents to their abuser, increasing the number of opportunities for abuse to occur and decreasing privacy and moments a survivor can slip away or call for help. Fear of exposing themselves and their children to COVID-19 and contracting the disease is also another deterrent to seeking help from a domestic violence shelter. As a result, our organization has seen a decrease in calls from victims seeking shelter. 

Meanwhile, our outreach services are seeing unparalleled numbers in rental assistance requests from survivors who have escaped violent and toxic environments and started a life free from violence. Many underserved and immigrant women workers were the first to be laid off and government financial relief efforts were limited in their capacity to address the needs, pointing to an increased financial struggle and resulting in more survivors reaching out for rental assistance.  

In response to the needs of survivors, CPACS allocated funds to help support survivors in need of rental assistance and provided more flexibility through procedures such as intake over the phone, and sending and receiving documents via email. Our Domestic Violence department also received funding for grocery assistance and no contact delivery to help lessen the added financial burden survivors’ face.

Alnory Gutlay has been with Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS) for over 6 years and is currently serving as the Programs Director for the Domestic Violence Department and HIV.In her role, she helps to further expand DV services to eliminate barriers to these services for survivors.

She was born in the Philippines and immigrated with her family to the US in 1997. As a 1.5 generation, she is passionate about serving the Limited English Proficiency (LEP), immigrant, and refugee communities. Thus, working with CPACS, an organization whose mission is to promote self-sufficiency and equity, has allowed her to turn this passion into actions and results where under-served communities are empowered and given focus. In her free time, Alnory loves spending time with her rescue dogs and traveling.

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