SafeSpace is a non-profit organization helping victims of domestic violence in Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties.
CEO Dr. Teresa Albizu says there’s a growing threat for young victims who opted out and are learning from home this school year in Martin County.
Their abilities to learn virtually are impacted, according to Albizu.
“The abuse can lead to extreme withdrawal and lack of participation,” Dr. Teresa Albizu said. “The children that were able to go to school before, got a little rest bit from an abusive environment, now that child is not going to be able to benefit from that.”
This comes after the recent arrest of 27-year-old Donald J. Williams.
The Martin County sheriff’s office says he shot and killed his ex-girlfriend, 32-year-old Maribel Rosado-Morales, Tuesday morning at a home near Booker Park in Indiantown in front of six children. Morales’ daughter was set to begin her online lesson with her Warfield Elementary School teacher when the gunfire erupted.
“They may regress in behavioral patterns. They experience a high level of stress that could result in withdrawals, but could also result in bullying or other aggressive behaviors,” Dr. Albizu said.
She says teachers have a great influence on their ability to help children that come from an abuse environment, but now it will be a bit challenging.
“They are able to identify certain signs of abuse, they are able to make certain interventions,” Albizu said. “They are able to bring in other individuals to come in and help that child to manage whatever the situation may be.”
Now, it will fall on the community to be more aware of what’s going on in the lives of children around them.
“We have to report domestic violence, if we don’t report it, we’re not going to be able to help these individuals and they need to know that in spite of the fact that they are isolated at home, there is a way to escape,” Albizu said.
To raise awareness, Safe Space is hosting a community fundraising event to continue their 40 year legacy of providing emergency shelters for victims transitioning out of an abusive environment.
The online event will be held Aug. 31 at 7 p.m.
In addition to a 60-bed emergency shelter, SafeSpace also provides a Supportive Living program for individuals in need of longer-term housing.
This also includes outreach services for those who choose not to enter a shelter but whose lives are being affected by domestic violence.