Miriam Duffy, Director of Rape Crisis Midwest, pictured above. Picture taken before COVID19.
Rape Crisis Midwest using phone calls and video chats during COVID19
By I Love Limerick Correspondent Sophia DiBattista
The doors of Rape Crisis Midwest had to close last month due to COVID-19, but they still remain open and are communicating with their clients via Skype, Facetime and other video chatting means.
Rape Crisis Midwest was founded in 1980 by a group of men and women that were worried about the lack of resources for survivors of sexual abuse and rape. The centre has grown over time and has provided people with thorough information, support and counseling for survivors around the Midwest region.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Rape Crisis Midwest had to adapt their services to suit the current environment, offering counseling and support every week over the phone and on video chatting platforms.
When the office first closed down as a result of the pandemic, the Centre contacted all its clients to inform them of the situation. They then organised services to continue helping their people but doing it remotely from home.
While the ongoing support has been beneficial, it does pose as a problem since the survivors cannot leave their homes to discuss their issues. Some clients may be at home with a child, which is not ideal to talk about such jarring topics, and some are too busy working. To accommodate these times, staff members have been working around hours when it is best for their clients.
There is constant communication going on between workers and patients, making sure that everyone is safe and coping well.
The online and over-the-phone support is not the same as a face-to-face meeting, but it does serve its clients well and makes do with the COVID-19 restrictions. A complete closure of the office was not an option for the Centre, so opting for an alternate method was what they decided on doing.
Miriam Duffy, Director of Rape Crisis Midwest, commented on these changes, saying, “This is a new way of working with our clients and so far, they are telling us they feel very supported by this, so we are working as usual but differently!”
If you or anyone else has experienced sexual assault or rape, please contact Rape Crisis Midwest. Their freephone number is 1800 311511 and you can email them at [email protected] This will be accessed on a daily basis, and the Centre will do their best to respond within 24 hours on Monday to Friday. Outside those hours, the National helpline number is 1800 77 8888. Rape Crisis Midwest covid19
For more information on Rape Crisis Midwest, click here.
For more stories on Rape Crisis Midwest, click here.