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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

Victim Assistance Program Poised to Assist Community During Pandemic

woman answering hotline
For decades, Victim Assistance Program has provided intervention, advocacy and education to try to reduce the potential for victims to experience long-term trauma.

As the coronavirus pandemic plays out, people are being instructed to avoid in-person contact as much as they can. But for many residents, too much time alone with uncertainty can heighten their fear and anxiety.

Summit County Victim Assistance Program President Leanne Graham says the organization is well positioned to help people experiencing stress from the pandemic by working through its strong virtual network.

“We are really fortunate to be as prepared as we are,” she said. “Our agency really thrives on being ready to respond to address any need in the community. And because of that we have been waiting for a time like this that we needed to work remotely and still have the capacity to help victims of crime.”

Over the decades, Victim Assistance staffers have been called upon  to work alongside emergency personnel, providing intervention and advocacy to reduce the potential for victims to experience long-term trauma.

The agency is always ready to deal with ongoing crime,  and Graham says right now her staff is on high alert.

“We don’t know which way the pendulum is going to swing with crime; if it’s going to go down or go up,” she said. “Is there potential for some type of mass incident, for someone to use this as an opportunity to hit us when we’re down? Yes that potential is there.”

Victim Assistance Program workers are available 24/7 through the agency’s hot line: 330-376-0040. Support is also available via text or live chat on the Victim Assistance website.