What Counts As Essential Services?
Do sexual assault services count as essential during this crisis? This is an evolving question and varies on a place-by-place basis. States and territories ultimately make the final decision. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued guidance in a March 19, 2020 letter ("Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce", attached below) that includes the following, which may be interpreted to include sexual assault service providers:
“Workers who support food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, such as those residing in shelters”
UN Commission on the Status of Women wrote a report on essential services provision for survivors of violence against women and girls: https://www.unwomen.org/-/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/library/publications/2020/brief-covid-19-and-essential-services-provision-for-survivors-of-violence-against-women-and-girls-en.pdf?la=en&vs=3834
How COVID-19 May Impact Sexual Assault Survivors
A "fast facts" briefing from the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (attached below) explains how survivors of domestic and sexual violence are at heightened risk now and long after the current crisis ends.
An article by NSVRC explains how COVID-19 and the pandemic response may trigger sexual assault survivors' trauma: https://medium.com/sexual-assault-awareness-month-2020/the-imprints-of-sexual-trauma-how-the-covid-19-pandemic-may-trigger-survivors-8b0eb2d2ab9d
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently compiled a resource on COVID-19 and violence against women: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/question-and-answers-hub/q-a-detail/violence-against-women-during-covid-19
The National Resource Center for Reaching Victims has also organized a series of recorded learning sessions on how COVID-19 is impacting different communities. You can access the recordings via the links below:
- Access the Older AdultsListening Session and Resource List
- Access the Boys and Men of ColorListening Session and Resource List
- Access the LEP and ImmigrantListening Session and Resource List
- Access the Children and Youth Listening Session and Resource List
- Access the LGBTQ+ Listening Session and Resource List
- Access the Girls and Women of ColorListening Session and Resource List
- Access the People with DisabilitiesListening Sessions and Resource List
The National Task Force to End Sexual & Domestic Violence also compiled a factsheet on how this current crisis is leading to increased rates of violence. (attached below)
NCCASA also offers a sample safety planning document to help survivors identify ways to stay safe physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually safe during this time.
The Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence recently released a report on COVID-19's impact on survivors of sexual violence in Ohio.
Tips and Resources for Mobile Advocacy
- This section includes resources on marketing helplines, providing telecounseling services, and links to resources developed by NNEDV's SafetyNet Project.
Hospital Advocacy & Medical Care
- This section includes resources to help coalitions navigate conversations with hospitals and make contingency plans
Sexual Assault and Housing During COVID-19
- This section includes resources on shelter recommendations and advocacy related to emergency housing for sexual assault survivors.
In-person Advocacy Protocols
- This section include sample statements and guidance for communicating safety protocols with survivors
Supporting Student Survivors
- Equal Rights Advocates' Guidance for Title IX Administrators During COVID-19: https://www.equalrights.org/issue/equality-in-schools-universities/covid19-guidance-title-ix-administrators/
- End Rape on Campus & It's On Us recorded webinar, "COVID-19 and its effects on Title IX investigations" (includes Closed Captions): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9WWrTu6GY4&feature=youtu.be
Sexual Assault Survivor Support During Disasters
VAWnet has several collections of resources offering technical assistance about supporting survivors during times of disaster. Many materials focus on domestic violence, but there are several specific to sexual assault. There are also collections about organizational preparedness and general information about rates of violence in the aftermath of disasters.