Since the pandemic began, incidents of domestic violence have increased, and in Fairfax County, Virginia, detectives note that they’ve also become more violent. The county has a new resource for victims that fits in the palm of their hand.
“It’s a lifesaver,” Saly Fayez said, describing the free HOPE cards that offer anyone with a permanent protective order a discreet way to ask for help.
As director of the Victim Services Division for the Fairfax County Police Department, Fayez heard of the program’s implementation and immediately thought it could work to help families.
“Before, the way it would work is victims would have to walk around with this two-page protective order,” she said.
The laminated HOPE cards, which are about the size of a credit card and issued by the courts, can also identify any children who could be at risk. It allows kids to hand them to a coach or teacher discreetly if an abuser shows up at school and police need to be called.
“It also helps with officer safety. So, if there’s a weapon involved or there has been a weapon involved, that’s in red on the card. So the officer knows that it has identifying information about the abuser,” Fayez said.
For more information on the Hope Card, you can contact the Fairfax County police’s Victim Services Division main line at 703-246-2141, the Fairfax County Domestic Violence Action Center at 703-236-4573, or contact the statewide Hope Card Program coordinator Jaime Clemmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.