The quarantines for Kansas City were sure to have effects beyond the economic impact of lost jobs and foregone income. The social impact, while less easily estimable, would soon follow. One organization in Kansas City has seen the effect and is facing the challenge head-on.

In a normal year Rose Brooks Center, located in Kansas City, MO., helps more than 14,000 individuals, families and pets break the cycle of domestic violence so they can live free of abuse. Since 1978 they have offered the safety of an emergency shelter to hundreds of clients and have helped thousands more outside of the shelter. But quarantine forced changes. Job losses brought added stress to families already in turmoil. And the core focus of quarantine, isolation, is the greatest asset to an abuser. For domestic violence victims, the vast majority of whom are women, children, and LGBTQ+ individuals, home is a dangerous place. Consider the following.

Kansas City saw a dramatic increase in domestic violence reports since stay-at-home orders were put in place across the metropolitan area. According to the Kansas City metro police, over the first several weeks from when orders went into effect, 911 calls for domestic violence climbed over 20% compared to the same time last year.

Rose Brooks Center’s hotline answers 8,000 calls per year. Following quarantine orders they recorded a 25% increase in daily calls. This experience was not limited to Kansas City as similar increases were recorded across the globe.

Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders in Wyandotte County, Kansas dropped by more than 75%. This reflects the challenge of victims finding a private place to ask for help.

While quarantine contributed to an increased need for services, it also posed challenges in service delivery. Those same isolation rules forced Rose Brooks to develop creative solutions to ensure uninterrupted safety and care for clients. They found ways to utilize technology to offer remote and virtual services throughout all their programs, allowing them to stay connected with victims and respond to the urgency that victims of domestic violence face when accessing support and services. They implemented ideas for innovative emergency shelter solutions, accelerated residents into permanent housing, formed innovative partnerships to create additional housing and increased security.

While Rose Brooks was meeting the growing need, the associated costs that included additional housing, utilities, and individual food preparations exceeded what was planned in their budget.

How can you help? “Donations and support will help us continue to provide security and support to victims of domestic violence in new ways to ensure personal health safety and protection from violence” explained Rose Brooks CEO, Susan Miller. “Our cost increases have come from meeting the basic needs of food, medicine, personal necessities, housing, and personal health-related supplies. Increases also come from responding to increased calls referred to us by police departments, by hospitals, by domestic violence survivors, and providing survivors with advocacy, case management, and therapeutic services.”

We all deserve to live productive lives free from abuse. Rose Brooks exists to make that a reality in the lives of those who need help. Mitchell Capital partners Jan Rowe and Christen Dusselier have been giving their time, treasure and talents to Rose Brooks for years, and you can join them with your support too.

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