Shannon Martin, an intake investigator for Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families, is no stranger to high-risk, high-stress situations – she regularly investigates allegations of domestic and child abuse – but the coronavirus pandemic has exponentially increased the risks and pressures of her work.

According to Martin, the number domestic violence claims have dropped since the pandemic began, but rather than indicating a drop in actual incidents, it’s likely that violent encounters at home have actually increased. “It’s a hard time because you add this pandemic on top of everything else, “ she says. “People are more apt to hide it or not tell anyone about it, because where are they going to go?”

Like many frontline workers, she’s also dealing with a lack of personal protective gear on the job: “We were given a Ziploc bag with Lysol spray, two pairs of gloves, and one or two masks and a bottle of hand sanitizer. The bag they gave us only works for one home visit. We’ve been trying to scrounge things up on our own.”

Martin says her colleagues are feeling unsupported and frustrated in these trying circumstances, but they are soldiering on: “I love what I do. I would never leave intake.”

Read more about Karen Martin and the unique challenges facing her field during the pandemic here.