Are your Services Ready?

2 Mar, 2021

With the stay-at-home order and the elevation of violence against women advocates voices, It is no secret that one fallout of the pandemic will be (and already is) the impact on women and children. Currently, we know that violence has increased for women and children, and that any group of people already pushed to the margins by the system are being disproportionately impacted by both the disease, the economy as well as physically and mentally.

Due to the pandemic many agencies are operating in survival mode. Short staffed, burnt out employees and leaders and day-to-day operations rooted in keeping everyone safe and business open so that those who need service can still have access. 

There is a few things that have been sitting uncomfortably with me that I wanted to process here.  First, are services ready for the influx of survivors of human trafficking that will be looking to access post pandemic? Much like how service providers are operating in the-day-to-day pandemic survival so are survivors and traffickers. At some point this will reach a peak for many to access resources to attempt to exit.

For others as the economy falls deeper, and people need money to survive, being isolated for so long and the concern for COVID is not as great, traffickers will continue to be readily available to exploit humans that the government and our many other systems may overlook as we continue to recover from the pandemic.

Many services already operate with significant barriers for survivors to access. Some of them are due to limited resources, others limited knowledge.  With many funds being diverted to COVID-19 relief, how many agencies have had the time/capacity to consider:

  • What barriers are currently existing in our structures making it difficult for survivors to access  or to exit ?
  • Where is luring/ grooming taking place in your agency?
  • Do we know how to identify and intervene?
  • what does post covid look like? Feel like? Sound like?
  • How can we ensure our services are equitable and accessible to those needing support with these new covid impacts?
  • How do our potential symptoms of collective trauma impact ability to provide service?

I also think that we will see an increase in needs well before the end of the pandemic. I think maybe its time to do a mid-point evaluation as an influx may be imminent. As is burnout for frontline workers if it has not happened already.

From a policy and procedure perspective, I do think there are ways that we can start thinking and moving towards more accessible service delivery and begin conversation ( if we aren’t already having them cause many may be!) about what policies can be updated and changed thinking about barriers and adjustments.

Maybe this feels like something that just cannot be done right now. That it is too soon or too much of a burden while we are still in survival mode. I would like to extend that possibly this is something that collaborative Community Solutions can support? Hiring a consultant will help by taking the extra work off individuals in the agency but help direct and support the analyses of the operations to encourage a more accessible and holistic post-and current support plan for your agency and the individuals accessing.

If you are working/leading in an agency and have done some of these things I would love to know how that has gone for you? If you haven’t how come?