Senator James Skoufis (D-Hudson Valley) announced $25,000 in now-annual state funding directed by his office to Fearless!, formerly known as Safe Homes, to support domestic violence prevention programming. The funding was presented to Fearless! Executive Director Kellyann Kostyal-Larrier by Skoufis’ Chief of Staff, Christie Foster, at the organization’s November 20 “Celebration of Hope” brunch.
Hotline calls to Fearless! have been up 39% since the pandemic began, Kostyal-Larrier said in a phone interview later. Even as pandemic restrictions eased, hotline use numbers did not decline, as Fearless! had instituted new ways for domestic violence victims to make contact, including using a web chat via a HIPPA-compliant portal.
“These channels helped them to stay engaged with services,” said Kostyal-Larrier. “We could connect with survivors where they were.”
In 2021, Warwick Town Police Department had 193 domestic violence calls, Police Chief John Rader said.
Fearless! has been working with police departments by providing advocates who work in the departments and by providing simple strategies for assessing lethality risk. While the co-located advocate service has a cost, the assessment strategy does not, Kostyal-Larrier pointed out.
The $25,000 annual funding will be used to support positions not fully funded and wrap-around services, such as food, shelter and family court assistance.
“Our waiting rooms are full,” said Kostyal-Larrier.
Hotline calls to Fearless! have been up 39% since the pandemic began. - Fearless! Executive Director Kellyann Kostyal-Larrier