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Staying safe at home during COVID-19

From: Hokie Wellness and Women's Center

While moving classes online and working remotely may help to reduce the spread of COVID-19, it is not always the safest option for survivors of emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse. When survivors are forced to spend more time in the home or in close proximity to their abuser, an abuser can use any tool to exert control over their victim, including a global health crisis such as COVID-19.

Many employees are working from home and students are taking classes remotely now that Virginia Tech has moved to online classes and essential operations. Social distancing and staying at home are circumstances that an abuser may take advantage of to isolate and gain more control. School or work may have been the safe space and outlet for a survivor. Now no longer an option, this can be a particularly lonely, scary and potentially dangerous time.

Reach out to the resources below for support and for help to create a plan if you are:

  • Isolated and/or not feeling safe – emotionally, physically, or sexually – in your home.
  • Worried about a friend or family member who is not safe in their home.
  • A university employee and are worried about a colleague or a student who is not safe at home.

You can get help developing a safety plan from the Women’s Center at Virginia Tech or the Women’s Resource Center of the New River Valley. A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to be safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after you leave. Having a safety plan can help you to protect yourself during this stressful and potentially dangerous time. You can develop an online safety plan here.

Be kind to yourself

COVID-19 is causing uncertainty for many people, but getting through this time while experiencing abuse can feel overwhelming. Taking time for your health and wellness can make a difference in how you feel. To learn more about how to build in self-care while staying safe please take advantage of Hokie Wellness’s new Wellness at Home site.

Additional resources

Virginia Tech:

Local and state: