TESSA prepares for possible increase in domestic violence incidents during stay at home order

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - With the stay at home order extended, some organizations are concerned that domestic violence incidents could increase.

TESSA, a nonprofit that supports victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, is ready for a possible increase in calls. As of the first of the month, they hadn't seen that yet.

TESSA says this is a stressful time for everyone, and if someone is already in a volatile relationship, stress can push people over the edge.

"So the stressors of unemployment, the unknowns, having to be kept at home, homeschooling children, all of those things that for all of us are stressors are more so for the clients that we serve," said Anne Markley, interim CEO.

Normally, people can walk in to get help and resources from TESSA but to comply with social distancing requests, walk-ins are no longer allowed. Instead, TESSA set up additional phone lines and an online chat options to keep people connected. You can click here for online resources.

"We also want people just to know that we are still here," Markley said. "While a lot of our community is closed, while restaurants aren't what they used to be, while a lot of shopping is closed, your community organizations are still here to support you, and walk with you and help you in this time of need."

TESSA recently received grant money from the Pikes Peak Community Foundation Emergency Relief Fund to help expand its safe housing program. Right now, TESSA has a 32-bed safe house in a confidential location.

"In order to be able to maintain the social distancing guidelines that are being put on us, we wanted to have the ability to have alternate locations to be able to safely and confidentially have residents be staying," Markley said. "So these funds are going to allow us to continue to house people in need in safe and confidential locations while having more distancing between those people. Not living so much in a communal environment."

She said the grant money allows the nonprofit to have flexibility to spend money on what's needed, instead of having to pull funds from another impactful program.

If you are a victim of domestic violence and need help, call TESSA's 24-hour Safe Line at 719-633-3819.