The impact of the COVID 19 pandemic is something that the entire community is grappling with. For victims of domestic violence and sexual violence, practicing self-isolation and sheltering has made seeking help including shelter, legal assistance and counseling all the more difficult. While social distancing benefits those most at risk of becoming seriously ill, it will inevitably make others more vulnerable, including victims of domestic violence. “Now more than ever it is imperative that victims of domestic violence and sexual violence know that they are not alone. SARC is here for them today and every day. This is a scary time for us all, but we remain committed to providing hope, safe haven and advocacy to those who need it the most.” stated SARC CEO, Luisa Caiazzo.
About one in four women and one in seven men aged 18 and older in the United States have experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner. (National Domestic Violence Hotline). Additionally, data from U.S. crime reports suggest that 16% (about 1 in 6) of homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Abuse is about power and control. When survivors are forced to stay in the home or in close proximity to their abuser more frequently, an abuser can use any tool to exert control over their victim, including a national health concern such as COVID-19 (National Domestic Violence Helpline). SARC wants to assure victims and potential victims that amidst the ever changing circumstances as a result of COVID 19 that we remain committed to providing advocacy, resources and support.
SARC’s 24 Hour Helpline (410-836-8430) remains in full effect: 365 days a year/7days a week/24 hours a day. SARC’s staff are currently taking shifts. Our dedicated team of highly trained staff are available to assist with safety planning, crisis support and advocacy to callers. Launching this week, SARC will feature an online chat option. It is our hope that this will provide another option for victims at home to safely seek resources. We encourage everyone to visit the SARC website at www.sarc-maryland.org for available times and days when Helpline Chat support we will be accessible.
SARC’s Legal Services Program continues to provide legal representation, information, and support during the COVID19 crisis. Victims seeking legal assistance are asked to leave a message at 443-371-3553. A member of the Legal Staff will return your call by the next business day. Victims who need protection through the courts are urged to file a Petition for Protection with the District Court Commissioners Office located at 1030 N Rock Spring Avenue, Bel Air, MD 21014.
Our emergency shelter remains open and measures have been put in place to comply with CDC guidelines for COVID-19. All victims seeking shelter should call the 24 Hour Helpline at 410-836-8430. We are grateful for the support provided by local law enforcement and continue to collaborate through the Lethality Screening Project to ensure that those most at risk are connected to life-saving shelter resources. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
Since 1978, SARC has provided hope and resources to victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, and stalking. Services include a 24 Hour-Helpline (410-836-8430), counseling for adults and children, legal advocacy and representation, a confidential safe house, hospital accompaniment program, and community outreach and education. To learn more about SARC visit www.sarc-maryland.org.