Avoiding public spaces and working remotely can help reduce the spread of COVID-19, but for many survivors, staying home may not be the safest option.
"People who are surviving violence in their relationships and families may be experiencing increased isolation and danger caused by social distancing measures during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Josephine Gonzalez, Loudoun Domestic Abuse Response Team program manager.
Loudoun County domestic and sexual violence service providers want residents to know:
- The DART team is still at work to protect survivors.
- Everyone deserves to feel safe in their homes and live a life free of violence.
The DART team includes advocates, service providers, law enforcement, and legal professionals, who mobilize to support survivors’ needs. The team has developed a video and webpage to highlight available resources.
To get help in Loudoun County:
- Call or text 9-1-1 if anyone is in immediate danger.
- Call Loudoun County’s Domestic and Sexual Violence hotline 24 hours a day, every day: 703-777-6552.
- Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224. If you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.
- Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline (RAINN) at 800-656-HOPE (4673). Survivors can call RAINN or chat on the website. It’s free and confidential.
- Visit loudoun.gov/DART.
Make a Plan
A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe and that can help a survivor avoid dangerous situations. An individual safety plan should be tailored to a person’s specific situation. For help with safety planning, call the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter Hotline and speak to an advocate: 703-777-6552.
What You Can Do to Help Others
Everyone can play a role in preventing domestic violence. “If you’re concerned about a friend or family member, it’s more important than ever to check in with them,” said Gonzalez. “Encourage people who are experiencing abuse to make a safety plan, call for help and guidance and let them know that the abuse is not their fault. Let them know you are there to listen, help and support them without judgement.”
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