True North is open as an option for victims of abuse

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COLUMBIA - Call volume is decreasing at True North of Columbia, which the shelter for victims of domestic and sexual violence would usually see as a good thing.

In 2019, True North experienced a record high volume of calls. But this sudden drop has Elizabeth Herrera, Executive Director, worried because people are staying home.

"Imagine being trapped with your abuser watching you 24/7, how difficult it is for you to make that call," she said.

Herrera said people now, especially with stay-at-home orders, rarely find 10 or 15 minutes to process that call.

If you can find time, Herrera suggests downloading the app, MyPlan. It will help you assess the level of danger in your own home. If you need to make a life saving decision, call 911. Herrera says Columbia Police will know to bring you to True North. 

"Victims are going to be in close proximity to their abusers," Herrera said. "Stress is very high, some people use alcohol and drugs to medicate when they are feeling stressed. Combine all that together, it's the perfect storm for violence to increase."

It is also important to know that True North is still open for calls and to help shelter people if needed. The only change is that they will not be bringing new people into their facilities.

“We are absolutely here for everyone, especially in these times," Herrera said. "I don’t want people to think that they are all alone in this. Yes, we’ve had to make some modifications, yes our community had to change the way it operates, but we are still here for you."

True North will continue to find victims safe place to stay.