What is DASACC?
DASACC stands for Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Crisis Center of Warren County.
DASACC serves all those who identify as being impacted by interpersonal violence. The organization strives to maintain knowledge and sensitivity of the impact of Race, Ethnicity, Sex, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, Citizenship, Disability Status, Neurodiversity, Age, Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and any other aspect that makes a person unique. They operate a 24/7 crisis intervention services, including emergency shelter, hotline, and response to police stations and hospitals.
They also have legal advocacy, counseling with specialties in mental health, addiction, ableism, later in life abuse, just to name a few. They provide prevention and outreach into the community. All their services are free and confidential. And, they are able to do all of these with their robust volunteer program.
The pandemic has exposed what we've always known to be true, the need to respond to the tremendous impact of domestic violence in our communities. And while numbers sometimes don't tell the story, Jill shares a couple of notable statistics. Jill Zinckgraf is the Executive Director of DASACC for 8 years now.
The dramatic increase in the services occurred when the stay-at-home order was lifted (from June of 2020. A year later, compared to the year 2019, DASACC shelter has increased by 188% of survivors placed in the residential services.
In all of 2019, DASACC served 60 adults and children in a residential setting for a total of 4,140 bed nights. Just last month alone, they placed 65 adults and children into a residential setting for a total of 1,523 bed nights which is 36% of an average year in a single month.
The capacity of their shelter program served six (6) families, which they ran at approximately 82% of capacity in 2019. Today, they serve 28 to 32 families on average.
However, they did not have additional staff.
- They had to restructure the role of their caseworkers in order to meet the needs and the demands of the community, including daily case management, food delivery, and all the ancillary services that are needed.
- They are able to increase their bed night capacity by approximately 68%.
- They have shifted and reconfigured how to safely support and provide services to all their outreach offices, court houses, police departments, and hospitals to a hybrid system that utilizes remote services via telephone, voiceover, IP technology and teleconferencing.
- They are operating above full capacity at approximately 123% across all programming.
For example, a counselor's caseload is approximately 22 to 25 survivors, but today, the average counselor's caseload at DASACC is 33 to 35 survivors.
That has resulted in an 86% increase in counseling sessions from 2019 (and they still have a waitlist for counseling services).
The problem? This is not temporary.
After the crisis, the numbers usually increase exponentially. However, we're still in the crisis and we have yet to know its full impact.
While we know that the pandemic did not cause domestic violence, what we do know is that any stressors increase the propensity, intensity and frequency of the violence. And that's what we're seeing.
Jill shares a conversation between her and one of the survivors who is struggling in a shelter. “I said, please let me know how I can be helpful. And she responded, I just need a safe place for me and my children to go home too, just like you.”
“For the good news, there is a theory in leadership called post-traumatic growth in which through great adversity comes great creativity, and we can thrive. And my hope is that what I've shared will attest to that theory.” - Jill Zinckgraf
3 Powerful Ways to Help
- DASACC needs dollars for gift cards to provide to the community. Gift cards for clothing, food, and other essentials that they need.
- DASACC needs people's time. If you have the opportunity to volunteer, they have many different volunteer opportunities collection drives.
- If you know someone that's being hurt often, when someone shares or that you see something, what or how you respond in that moment will set the tone of the course that they'll take. DASACC needs you to say that's not okay and they deserve better. Give them DASACC’s hotline number 908-453-4181. Learn more about DASACC https://www.dasacc.org/