Domestic Violence and Safe Horizons
by Lisa A. Romano
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and the charity I support is Safe Horizons which offers immediate resources to our brothers and sisters in need.
I wanted to share legislation that Safe Horizons has just helped pass here in New York. Due to the efforts of this amazing charity, they have passed a law that allows NYC to provide families in crisis with baby diapers and baby wipes.
This may not sound like a big deal, but for the mom or dad who has just fleed a domestic violence situation with barely the skin on their backs, diapers and baby wipes are a much-needed necessity that is easily overlooked, not to mention, they can also be expensive.
Please read about the change those at Safe Horizon and their partners of volunteers and supporters are helping to bring to the lives of those who discover themselves in chaotic and troubling dynamics.
"For parents of babies, toddlers, and very young children, there are many concerns and needs to be met for their little ones. Many families with limited resources often have to choose between necessities such as diapers, food, transportation costs, medications, or other needs. We believe they shouldn’t have to. Diapers are a significant expense and according to National Diaper Bank Network, babies use between 6 and 10 diapers per day!
That’s why our Vice President of Government Affairs Michael Polenberg worked with Brooklyn City Council Member Mark Treyger on legislation to provide free diapers to families in domestic violence shelters and other programs.
Kelly Coyne, VP of Domestic Violence Shelters, who oversees our eight domestic violence shelters, applauded the bill’s passage: “Unmet diapering needs may mean families have to reuse diapers or leave their child in a diaper for longer than recommended. Lack of access to diapers can also impact a child’s ability to attend daycare which in turn can impact the caregiver’s ability to work. This bill will have a tremendous impact on our families’ ability to work, pursue an education and help ensure the health of the children. Families should not have to choose between diapers and other essential needs.”
At our shelters, we provide a safe space to heal and a temporary place to live for many survivors with babies, toddlers, and young children. In fact, we had 503 children under the age of five stay with us for a period of time in 2017. During this time, we distributed approximately 2,000 diapers. With no dedicated funding stream to fill this need, resources were diverted from another important programming.
That’s why we are deeply grateful to Council Member Treyger, Council Speaker Corey Johnson and the entire New York City Council for passing this bill that will provide diapers and baby wipes to families in need at Family Justice Centers, Department of Education LYFE programs, domestic violence shelters, and shelters operated by the Department of Homeless Services and the Department of Youth and Community Development.
This new law will help families and shelters spread their money further to help meet each family’s basic needs. Our CEO Ariel Zwang stated “Safe Horizon is grateful to Council Member Mark Treyger, Speaker Corey Johnson and the entire City Council for ensuring that diapers will be readily available to families in domestic violence shelters throughout New York City. The availability of diapers means families won’t have to choose between keeping their little ones clean and dry, and meeting other basic needs. We applaud the City Council for passing common-sense legislation and for helping to ensure that domestic violence shelters can better meet the needs of their residents.”
No parent should have to sacrifice diapers for their young one. Fortunately, parents in our domestic violence shelters will not have to."
If you or someone you need is in immediate need of shelter, please contact Safe Horizons at www.safehorizon.org