Supporting Sexual Assault Victims During COVID-19

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Supporting Sexual Assault Victims During COVID-19

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Supporting Sexual Assault Victims During COVID-19

A consequence of the current COVID-19 stay-at-home measures is that victims of intimate partner violence, which often includes sexual violence, are spending more time at home confined with their abusers.Many policing agencies and victim service providers across the globe have seen an increase in calls about domestic and sexual violence. Calls for service may also drop during this time due to victims being unable to find a safe space to call; agencies may experience an increase in calls as stay-at-home orders are lifted and they are able to do so. While police response has changed in some ways during the COVID-19 pandemic, police are still responding to and investigating domestic and sexual violence crimes.

Agencies can encourage reporting by providing information on their social media pages and website on how to report intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and file for protection orders—and should include information on whether that process has changed or not due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Agencies can also partner with victim service organizations in their communities to share information about resources available for support, such as hotlines, advocacy services, and safety planning.

Additionally, providing a trauma-informed, victim-centered response when responding to these calls can help the victim feel supported. The IACP has several resources and training opportunities that can offer best practices to agencies when providing trauma-informed, victim-centered responses.

Resources include

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, IACP is here to support responding officers and agency leaders as they continue to protect and serve our communities.

 

For further information regarding the IACP’s resources, contact Rachel Apfelbaum, Project Coordinator, at apfelbaum@theiacp.org or 1-800-THE-IACP ext. 843.

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