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The KUNM news team's coverage of the 2020 legislative session and its impacts

YNMG & COVID: When Home Isn't A Safe Place To Shelter

Elvert Barnes via Wikimedia Commons CC

In Episode 57, we talk about the dangers that domestic violence survivors face during shelter-in-place orders when home isn’t a safe place. We hear what advocates, agencies, and the government are doing to help survivors of abuse stay safe, and how they’re keeping services running during social distancing.  

We hear from Pam Wiseman, executive director of theNew Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence about the significant rise in home violence in Bernalillo County and how it's linked to stress and unemployment. She said services are still running, and shelters and alternative shelter options are still open for those who need to get out of a dangerous home situation.

Brian Blalock, cabinet secretary of New Mexico's Children, Youth and Families Department, tells us about how the agency is keeping in touch with families to make sure children stay safe while at home, including collaborating with teachers who are checking in with students through online classes about everything from household food security to how they are faring in potentially dangerous situations.  

KUNM’s Nash Jones spoke with Cole Carvour, campus advocate at the LoboRESPECT Advocacy Center at the University of New Mexico, who said although the center is seeing fewer reports for domestic violence, that doesn’t mean there aren’t incidents of violence. 

Christine Barber, executive director of Street Safe New Mexico, talks about the links between poverty and domestic violence and the difficult situations that are pushing some women and their children to see the street as the only viable option to escaping an abusive partner who is now always home.  She tells us what resources homeless populations need during the pandemic.

Clara Moran, New Mexico chief deputy attorney general for criminal affairstells us about the consequences of not renewing the federal Violence Against Women Actthat expired a year ago and what it means for state resources to fight domestic violence, including violence against children, Native populations and transgender populations.

Anji Estrellas is the executive director of Esperanza Shelter in Santa Fe. She says the shelter is nearly full, and she's seen a rise in the number of people seeking help and protection during the pandemic.

And the a news update: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that starting tomorrow, employees at some businesses will be required to wear face masks. That’s at restaurants and essential businesses with retail space that is larger than 50,000 square feet. 

Dr. David Scrase, the cabinet secretary with Health and Human Services, said the rate of viral spread in New Mexico is not improving, and we’re not on track to begin reopening in mid-May, KOB reports.

Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel said the state is also going to step up testing of guards and people in prisons.

There were 107 new cases in N.M. today bringing the total to 4,138, and six deaths, making the death toll 162.

People here are still being asked to stay home, to wash their hands and clean surfaces, and to wear face coverings in public.

Calls to police in Albuquerque for violence at home are about the same, officials said during a news conference today, but they’ve more often resulted in arrests.

We're keeping a complete list of the resources and volunteer opportunities that we find for each episode at bit.ly/YNMGhub. And here's what we got from today.

  • If you’re experiencing violence at home or in a relationship, you can reach the Domestic Violence Resource Center at 505-248-3165 or at dvrcnm.org
  • If you’re a UNM student, you can contact the Lobo Respect Advocacy Center 24 hours a day at 505-277-2911
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-safe (7233)
  • UNM mental health: 505-272-2800
  • Alcoholics Anonymous: 505-266-1900
  • Agora New Mexico Crisis Center: 505-277-3013
  • Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-773-3645
  • Child Abuse Hotline: 505-841-6100
  • Adult Protective Services: 1-866-654-3219 or 1-505-476-4912
  • City of Albuquerque Senior Information Line: 505-764-6400
  • New Mexico Crisis and Access Line: 855-662-7474

How are things going for you? We want to know. Share your quarantine stories by calling: (505) 218-7084 and leaving us a message. We could roll them into a future episode.

Your New Mexico Government is a collaboration between KUNM, New Mexico PBS, and the Santa Fe Reporter. Funding for our coverage is provided, in part, by the Thornburg Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the New Mexico Local News Fund.


Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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