SIMSBURY, Conn. (WTNH)– Connecticut’s largest agency working to end domestic violence gathered to celebrate the workers who helped keep people safe during the pandemic on Oct. 21.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, bringing a special meaning for families impacted by intimate partner abuse.
Maria Mojica, Interval House manager, grew up in Hartford’s North End seeing things kids shouldn’t see. Now, she works in the same community to create a path for safety for victims and survivors of domestic violence.
“For me, doing this work, I know that I’m giving something to someone that is in need. And going through domestic violence,“ said Mojica.
Mojica is one of the 36 Interval House employees being honored Thursday for doing so much during the agency’s most challenging year yet.
“Last year, we worked with 2,000 more victims than the year before. We had 11,000 calls,” said Mary-Jane Foster, President, and CEO of Interval House. “That’s almost double what we had before. Incoming, outgoing calls. ‘Are you safe? How can we help?’ All of those things.”
Advocates for victims and survivors of domestic violence gathered over “Breakfast with Champions” Thursday in Simsbury. This event was to raise money to keep this mission going and to recognize these workers.
For the individuals wearing purple, that’s because Oct. 21 is Wear Purple Day. Wear Purple Day is to raise awareness for victims of domestic violence.
“Everyone who’s going through domestic violence, they’re not by themselves. There is help out there. They just have to reach and don’t be afraid of reaching out,” Mojica said.
That’s a message the Interval House wants to reach who needs to hear it because the isolation of the pandemic has escalated instances of intimate-partner violence across Connecticut.
“At one point, we had 340% overcapacity in our safe house,” said Foster. “Listen to this. 14,000 bed nights last year. So we did everything we could to keep victims safe. It’s easy for me to stand here, but it’s the staff that does the day in and day out work, and I am thrilled to be honoring them here today.”