Domestic Abuse and COVID-19
- 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 coronavirus pandemic.
- Loudoun County domestic and sexual violence service providers want you to know:
- The Domestic Violence Response 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.
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.
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.
- This plan includes ways to remain safe while in the relationship, planning to leave, or after leaving. Safety planning includes how to cope with emotions, tell friends and family about the abuse, take legal action, and more.
- Although parts of a safety plan may seem obvious, it’s important to remember that in moments of crisis a person’s brain doesn’t function the same was as when they are calm. Having a safety plan laid out in advance can help a survivor protect themselves in stressful moments.
- Safety planning looks different for everyone. A safety plan should be tailored to person’s specific situation. For help with safety planning, call the LAWS Hotline and speak to an advocate: 703-777-6552.
What You Can Do to Help Others
We can all 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.
- 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
Loudoun Domestic Abuse Response Team
To facilitate development of its Coordinated Community Response (CCR) to domestic violence, the county formed the Loudoun Domestic Abuse Response Team (D.A.R.T.). D.A.R.T. is comprised of front line workers and mid-level managers from the project agencies. The D.A.R.T. is advised by the Loudoun Domestic Violence Steering Committee, which consists of county agency directors, local department heads as well as the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judges.
The Loudoun D.A.R.T. endeavors to ensure collaboration with project and community partners regarding information sharing, mutual problem solving, victim safety issues, offender accountability as well as accountability within the criminal justice system. The team has developed protocols that ensure clear and expeditious lines of communication within the justice system as well as encourage the legal exchange of critical information that should lead to uniform and consistent responses to domestic and family violence.
D.A.R.T. Mission Statement
The mission of the D.A.R.T. is to ensure the safety of victims and families, and to increase offender accountability through consistent collaboration with our interagency and community partners; and to promote awareness and education about the pervasive effects of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse through training, intervention, and rehabilitation.
Coordinated Community Response
The Coordinated Community Response (CCR) model of domestic violence illustrates the inter-relationship of agencies and levels of response for addressing domestic violence. It recognizes that no one agency can deal effectively and safely with the effects of domestic violence, but rather a collaborative approach is best.
Loudoun County has developed a coordinated community response (CCR) to domestic violence through the collaborative efforts of its project partners.
The project partners include:
- Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ Office
- Juvenile Court Services Unit
- Leesburg Police Department
- Legal Services of Northern Virginia
- Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter (LAWS)
- Loudoun County Department of Animal Services
- Loudoun County Department of Community Corrections
- Loudoun County Department Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Developmental Services
- Loudoun County Department of Family Services
- Loudoun County Public Schools
- Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office
- Victim Witness Program