MERIDEN — To combat remote accessibility and appeal to a younger demographic, a local domestic violence victim advocacy organization is turning to social media to reach younger populations.
"We had to re-think a lot of how we are doing business," said Linsey Walters, executive director of Meriden-Wallingford Chrysalis. "So I proposed to my advocate staff — ‘How can we as a domestic violence agency utilize this platform to be relevant to a younger population?’ "
Recently, Meriden-Wallingford Chrysalis created a TikTok account featuring organization members reading the first-hand accounts of victims of domestic violence.
Adriana Kelly, child advocate, said she hopes sharing the voices of domestic violence victims will trigger discussions about what unhealthy and healthy relationships look like.
Seeing a gap in the conversations about teen dating, Walters said the idea to create a TikTok account came after almost a year of discussions about reaching a younger audience.
With in-person contact discouraged during the pandemic, the organization also had to get remote resources to victims.
Walters said the pandemic has produced a spike in domestic violence she has not seen since the Great Recession more than a decade ago.
Samantha Foster, president of the Lifehouse Project Inc., said it is important that children understand the warning signs of domestic violence and child abuse. The organization offers services to children and adults that have suffered abuse or neglect
"The earlier we can reach the children, the earlier we can reach the young adults, the better we can eradicate child abuse," she said.
"Spreading awareness is a national, global effort," said Winters.
Kelley said the TikTok account will include more ideas for future topics as well as information and resources.