Loudoun County highlights domestic violence help during awareness month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Loudoun County, Virginia, is working to make sure residents know there are resources available if they need them.

Loudoun’s Domestic Abuse and Response Team, or DART, said that though avoiding public places and working remotely may curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, people who are surviving violence may be in danger by staying home.

“At the beginning, during Phase One, when everybody was stuck at home and they could not leave, we had a significant decrease in the number of phone calls that we received because people were not safe to call the hotline and to leave on their own,” said Judy Hanley of the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter.

“So what ended up happening is the violence escalated, and the majority of our referrals during Phase One came because people would call 911,” she said. “And then the police would arrive, and the police would bring them into our shelter.”

Hanley said things are different now: People are coming into the shelter without the need for police. But the shelter is running out of room.

“Every day, it increases,” Hanley said. “We have a shelter with 12 beds. That has worked for us for 35 years, until this year. And now, today, we have 24 people in shelter. ”

According to Hanley, since March 12, the county has served the same number of people they would have in two years.

“I just want everybody to know that there’s no socioeconomic status that is not being touched by domestic violence,” Hanley said.

Monetary donations are one thing that’s desperately needed.

DART has a video and website to highlight available local resources.

To get help in Loudoun County:

  • Call or text 911 if anyone is in immediate danger.
  • Call Loudoun County’s Domestic and Sexual Violence hotline 24 hours a day, every day at (703) 777-6552.
  • Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224. If you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.
  • Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline (RAINN) at 800-656-HOPE (4673). Survivors can call RAINN or chat on the website. It’s free and confidential.
  • Visit loudoun.gov/DART.

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