Rose Andom Center fielding twice as many phone calls during COVID-19 pandemic

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DENVER — In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, calls into the Rose Andom Center dropped, but by the time September rolled around, those calls had doubled.

The Denver center has continued to be an important resource for domestic violence victims during a time when the demand for services seems to be greater than ever before.

“I’m astounded by the commitment of our staff who have continued to do such challenging work, difficult work that they do in their homes, sometimes on their kitchen table,” said Nicole Castillo, the program director for the Rose Andom Center.

Staff members and volunteers have continued to work throughout the current health crisis, even pivoting operations to be fully remote in order to continue serving clients. They’re currently fielding more than 400 phone calls a month, double the amount of calls this time last year.

The center is also seeing a shift in the need for specific services. Instead of legal assistance, more people are requesting help with housing.

“So it can mean anything from helping someone to pay some back-owed rent or moving into a new place and needing a security deposit, or sometimes they need to get off of a lease and start a new lease and we can provide all of the resources and referrals to do that,” said Castillo.

Cece Dunn says a phone call to the Rose Andom Center changed her life. She reached out to the center three years ago after seeing their number in a pamphlet when she was in court for a domestic violence case involving her ex-husband.

“The initial charge was attempted murder, he just kept saying, ‘I’m going to kill you,'” said Dunn.

Dunn was in an abusive marriage for ten years and she said that abuse continued to escalate until one day, when her husband pinned her down and struck her head with a hammer. Dunn managed to escape the attack and while she was sitting in the hospital, she decided she was going to leave him.

“Just making up your mind can be the catalyst for an enormous change in your life,” said Dunn.

When she called the Rose Andom Center, Dunn said she finally felt like she wasn’t alone and knew that person on the other end of the line cared about her future.

“I just want everybody out there to understand that there is help,” said Dunn. “There’s help, there’s hope. You have to believe in yourself.”

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, call the Rose Andom Center at (720) 337-4400. You can also reach the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.