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Harbor House officials in Appleton say they’re serving more victims of domestic violence than ever before

Local News

APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) — Harbor House Manager of Community Education and Prevention Tracy Plamann says her organization has been busy since June 2020.

“We saw a huge increase,” she said, “we went, I think within a seven or ten-day span from 24 people to 69.”

The end of coronavirus lockdowns leads to the first big surge for Harbor House.

“Once things started opening up, that’s when all of our agencies started getting bombarded with clients,” Plamann said.

It’s been more than a year since the Safer at Home order ended, but the need for organizations like Harbor House has not slowed.

“We’re almost double right now where we were last year,” Plamann said.

That’s creating challenges.

“We have so many more people, but we’re not getting quite as many donations as we used to,” Plamann explained. “Even the little things: The toilet paper, the socks, the toothpaste.”

The other services offered at Harbor House, like legal assistance, are also in higher demand than in years past.

“About 2/3 of our clients don’t need safe shelter, they just need help,” Plamann said. “They need help with safety planning, they need help navigating through the legal system, they need help with their kids.”

They also need moral support.

Harbor House and other organizations that serve victims of domestic violence are asking everyone to help raise awareness with purple porch lights in October to show survivors of domestic violence that they’re not alone.

“When victims of domestic violence drive around or walk around their community and they see all those lights, that’s pretty powerful,” Plamann said. “It’s a huge message to them that what they’re going through matters and that there’s a lot of people who want them to get help.”

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HARBOR HOUSE

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