Multnomah County begins awareness campaign on child abuse, domestic violence during pandemic

April 30, 2020

This month, hundreds of public service announcements will air across four television channels raising awareness about child abuse and domestic violence in the wake of COVID-19. 

The campaign, which will extend through mid-May, sheds light on a concern that’s emerged as families stay home under Oregon’s “Stay Home, Save Lives” order. With more people confined in their homes, health and human services experts are warning that survivors are more likely to be stuck in close quarters with their abusers.

Despite rumors, many domestic violence services continue to operate. The Gateway Center for Domestic Violence is not accepting walk-ins at this time, but anyone can call 503-988-6400 during regular business hours for one-on-one support with experienced advocates. The Multnomah County Circuit Court is only accepting restraining order applications at the Justice Center (1120 S.W. 3rd Ave. in Portland), and Gateway Center advocates can help with navigating the process over the phone.

The advertisements are airing on KATU, KGW, KPTV and Univision. Univision will air a culturally relevant advertisement that’s aimed at the station’s Spanish-speaking audience. All of the advertisements can also be viewed on the stations’ websites and social media pages. In total, the public service advertisements are expected to be viewed nearly 10 million times. 

“COVID-19 has stressed our community in many ways, and we need to do everything we can to ensure families and survivors know there is help available,” said Chair Deborah Kafoury, who championed the awareness effort after multiple reports emerged documenting an increased risk for violence and abuse at home.

Multnomah County wants everyone to know that survivors are not alone, and services remain available to those experiencing violence at home. The advertisements point viewers toward a number of resources that remain open for families and people experiencing domestic violence, including:

  • Reach Out Oregon: Information and support for families and direct caregivers (1-833-REACH-OR). 

  • Oregon Child Abuse Hotline: for reports of concerns about suspected abuse or neglect (1-855-503-SAFE). 

  • Call to Safety: 24/7 domestic violence crisis line (1-888-235-5333)

  • Proyecto UNICA: 24/7 support and advocacy for domestic violence survivors with a focus on Latinx individuals and families (503-232-4448)

“Our work is not done,” Chair Kafoury said. “We are committed to ensuring our most vulnerable communities continue to get the services they need, especially as we collectively grapple with COVID-19 and its effects.”