(Beaver Dam) Officials with Dodge County’s domestic violence shelter say they have seen an increase of calls to their hotline since the “Safer at Home” order was implemented. Ashley Welak – executive director of PAVE which stands for Protect, Advocate, Validate and Educate – says there has been a significant increase in calls over the past several weeks. She says the current rate of victims reaching out for assistance, and are considered high-danger of homicide, has nearly doubled that of “normal” times.
The organization notes that the order makes it harder for victims to escape. They say as unemployment surges, there are very real financial anxieties that may make it even more difficult for a victim to leave an abusive situation. Welak says isolation, loss of power and control all coupled with increased anxiety is a perfect storm for the escalation of domestic violence. She adds, as an essential service, PAVE has been working hard to stay open and available 24/7 to meet the increased need.
President of the PAVE Board of Directors Ken Osterman says their staff has been incredibly committed to doing whatever necessary to make sure this important safety net is in place for local citizens and communities. Over the past three years, PAVE has provided nearly 11,000 nights of shelter.
Anyone who needs PAVE’s services should get in touch with the group. PAVE’s crises lines are 800-775-3785 (toll free) and 920-887-3785. They also have a texting hotline which is 920-344-0123. You can also email by visiting https://pavedc.org/