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Domestic, Sexual Assault Support Calls Plummet, But Help Remains Available

A local domestic and sexual violence advocacy group saw a 75-percent drop in requests for services in March and April due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

But it wants people to know it’s fully available to provide help to those who need it.

Embrace serves survivors in Price, Rusk, Washburn, and Barron counties.

Sexual violence program coordinator Angela Frieze said the drop is not because less violence is occurring.

“For a lot of people who are experiencing domestic and sexual violence, it means that they are trapped at home with their abusers,” she said. “They’re more isolated than ever. They’re cut off from any support networks that they did have.”

Requests for services have started to creep back up in the last few weeks, Frieze said.

Despite the health emergency, Embrace’s phone (800-924-0556) and text (715-532-6976) services are fully functional.

“I think the biggest thing we want people to know is that we are absolutely still here 24/7. There’s always advocates available. We are trying to limit in-person services and do as much as possible virtually,” Frieze said.

Embrace has had to cancel several fundraisers because of the pandemic.

It’s set up a crowdfunding page to try and raise money.

Ben worked as the Special Topics Correspondent at WXPR from September 2019 until November 2021. He then contributed with periodic stories until 2024. During his full-time employment, his main focus was reporting on environment and natural resources issues in northern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula as part of The Stream, a weekly series.
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