As we reflect on 2020, we are proud of the unparalleled transitions our Agency made to continue providing services during the global pandemic. However, COVID-19 was not our only challenge. Domestic violence is a “silent epidemic” flourishing alongside the coronavirus --- globally, nationally, and in our own back yard. Not only has domestic violence increased, but victims are reporting more serious injuries. While 2020 has brought unimaginable challenges, our dedicated staff, volunteers, and community stakeholders worked tirelessly towards achieving our mission: to lead the effort in preventing domestic violence and sexual assault through crisis intervention, assistance, advocacy and social change.
For 39 years, our Agency has remained committed to serving our community's most vulnerable residents. We specialize in providing survivors with a complete continuum of services, while empowering them as they courageously embark on their healing journeys. At all times, we provide a voice for victims of abuse. We are committed to finding innovative approaches to support survivors, shaping public opinion about family and sexual violence, collaborating with other community organizations, and amplifying our work across systems.
In a March 2020 press release, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office reported a 35% increase in family violence-related cases in comparison with the previous year. Moreover, in 2020, our crisis hotline advocates responded to 65,011 hotline calls. To put this in perspective: In 2019, we answered 49,618 calls, representing a 31% increase in hotline activity.
In response, we transitioned to providing virtual counseling, advocacy, outreach and legal services. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have adapted our service delivery model to a hybrid system which honors trauma-informed and evidence-based principles.
Lastly, we want to thank our dedicated volunteers, donors and board members. Due to your steadfast support, our doors have remained open. Although the path forward into 2021 may feel uncertain, one thing has never been clearer: to change the trajectory for the better we have to come together, work together, and support each other.