Middle Way House

There was no way to anticipate COVID-19 when the Library implemented the Creating Access for Violence Survivors (CAVS) program in partnership with Middle Way House last summer. At the time, the Library was simply looking for a way to eliminate Library access barriers for survivors of family violence in our community. The CAVS program allows the Library to forgive fines and fees accrued by survivors who abandon Library materials while fleeing domestic abuse. Library staff members were also trained on how to recognize and understand domestic violence. 

“As a community hub, libraries are well-positioned to offer resources and referrals for members of the community experiencing violence,” says Miranda Dube, a Victim Witness Advocate, and creator of Librarians for Survivors. “By being a supportive voice in the fight against violence, the local public library helps not only on an individual level––by connecting victims of domestic and sexual violence with the resources needed on their path to recovery and empowerment––but also help create change in the larger culture of their town.”

The Library is committed to being a supportive voice in Monroe County. As a trusted information institution, the Library wants to ensure survivors know that Middle Way House remains open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, continuing to provide support and advocacy for survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence, stalking, and human trafficking.

The information and support service needs of survivors have changed as well. The crisis line has received 1,300 phone calls since January, putting the crisis line on track to be operating at a 60% increase in calls compared to the same time last year. Many are predicting an influx of family violence during the pandemic, and survivors may not realize that emergency shelters, legal advocates, and other services for survivors of violence are open and available to help those in need.

Another concern is that survivors who are forced to shelter-in-place with their abusers will not be able to use a phone to call a crisis line. Middle Way House’s solution is their new web chat feature, which allows survivors to contact the crisis line without having to speak on the phone. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has also added a chat feature to their website’s homepage. 

Middle Way House will remain open regardless of the COVID-19 situation. Almost all services are available, but some things are a little different. Middle Way House is sanitizing kitchens, bathrooms, doorknobs, and light switches every two hours. Survivor groups are meeting via Zoom instead of in-person and some staff members are working from home. Middle Way House also cannot accept donations of clothes or other items at this time.

Anyone in need of their services can contact Middle Way House via their crisis line at 812-336-0846 or web chat.