We are keeping our fingers crossed, hoping to enter Phase 2 of the re-opening process and take a step back to normal next week. Each morning with Michael & Maddie, we'll spotlight a SouthCoast business leader who is fighting to continue to grow even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are focusing on a different type of leader this morning, however. Today, we spoke to Pamela MacLeod-Lima, the Executive Director at the Women's Center in New Bedford. We asked her whether or not she's seen an increase in domestic violence cases locally as is being reported in the media.

"We know it to be true," said MacLeod-Lima. "It's not just COVID-19. Whenever there is a community disaster, event, crisis, there is a surge in domestic violence. We're prepared for that, and we're making sure victims know we're available to help, but the problem is right now with COVID-19, it's a unique situation where people are afraid to go out, but also afraid to stay in."

The Women's Center wants to make sure everyone in the community knows that even though their doors are closed (due to the pandemic), the organization itself is not closed. They are available to help and don't want anyone to stay in an unsafe situation because they think there is nowhere to turn.

For more information, call the Women's Center Hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at (508) 999-6636. You can also log onto the website thewomenscentersc.com.

They can offer aid for food insecurity or shelter if needed.

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