During shelter-in-place, Center for Community Solutions continues support for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Posted on April 16, 2020

Every day, thousands of individuals across the country are impacted by intimate partner violence and sexual assault. Unfortunately, these offenses do not stop because of COVID-19. With stay-at-home orders in effect, there has been a nationwide spike in domestic violence cases. Individuals calling in to crisis hotlines are reporting that abusers are intimidating victims by further isolating them from family and friends, threatening to keep them from medical aid, and even withholding hand sanitizer.

Over the last month, Center for Community Solutions — a local nonprofit that provides shelters and resources to survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual assault —has experienced an increase in sexual abuse reports to their crisis hotline as a result of escalated domestic violence situations.

“An individual’s risk of physical and sexual harm significantly increases when they are confined with their abuser,” says Verna Griffin-Tabor, CEO of Center for Community Solutions. “Each day, our advocates are fielding calls from distressed individuals who are seeking more resources than ever before.”

Currently, CCS’ three shelters and 24-hour hotline remain operating at full capacity, while CCS advocates, counselors, and legal staff have adapted virtual methods of communication to continue providing crucial support to clients, such as attending videoconference hearings for restraining orders. For some survivors, the onset of a pandemic and stay-at-home orders disrupted their sense of safety. In order to help survivors re-stabilize, the agency is expanding services to include access to food and transportation, as well as assisting clients in finding temporary or permanent employment.

“Imagine being on the path to self-sufficiency and suddenly your world is turned upside down…again,” continues Griffin-Tabor. “Given the vital safety net found in CCS’ services, we recognized the need to pivot quickly and will do all we can to ensure supports continue, particularly to survivors who may already feel isolated and alone.”

For individuals living in San Diego County who may be at risk for violence or in need of support, CCS operates a free, confidential, bilingual crisis hotline that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please reach out to 888.385.4657 to speak directly with a caring advocate. Throughout April, CCS will also share resources on its social media pages as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month; follow @ccs_sd and @ccs_prevents.

Griffin-Tabor concludes, “None of us know how long the need for social distancing will continue. But we do know the community needs us, and we are here for you.”

To help support victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, please visit ccssd.org/how-to-help.