October 23, 2020
On October 22, 2020, our office proudly participated in a panel hosted by Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal for this year’s proclamation on Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Emma Kane, our lead Domestic Violence Victim Advocate, represented the office and shared with the County Board of Commissioners that our office, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, continues to serve survivors of domestic violence daily.
From October 2019 – October 2020, our office served more than 3,000 victims.
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office has witnessed the impacts when domestic violence overlaps with gang violence, sexual assault and sex trafficking. Victims in all of these areas have seen increased barriers to meeting their needs, and our office remains committed to ensuring we are able to assist them throughout all stages.
“I have listened to survivors express how, given COVID-19 quarantine and social-distancing measures, it is more difficult to access resources like shelter space, to stay with a friend or family member given the health risk, or to find safe, long-term housing to move into,” Emma said.
For the first time in Multnomah County, it is now possible to file protective orders remotely. This is possible through a collaboration with the Gateway Center, Volunteers of America and Multnomah County Circuit Court. We are especially thankful for these partnerships because they have enabled us to address survivor safety concerns in a collaborative way.
“Our advocacy is not limited to just the court process but intersects with all types of services, including mental health, housing and much more,” Emma said. “As an example, our advocacy recently extended into a doctor’s office to assist a victim with COVID-19, who was unable to get to follow up medical care for their injuries from head trauma and strangulation – both of which can have long lasting and even deadly consequences.”
The victim advocates in our office prioritize meeting with survivors in person, equipped with personal protective equipment and while observing social-distancing, to provide essential services and be responsive to their needs. This includes accompanying them to grand juries, release hearings, court hearings and even trials.
“Human connection, support and having someone literally by your side or to greet you with open arms is vital. We have had to find ways to adapt, to bring that warmth and support through our words, gestures and simply our presence,” said Emma.
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office recognizes all of our victim advocates and the other community stakeholders who are working to support and protect crime victims.
If you need assistance, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)