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Important: COVID-19 Booster & Visitor Policy

The Impact of COVID-19 on Victims of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

April 20, 2020
An increase in the frequency and severity of sexual assault and domestic violence is likely to occur because of the stay-at-home orders in place across the country. On Monday, April 20, 2020, Laura Clary, BSN, RN, FNE-A/P, SANE-A, Clinical Program Manager for GBMC’s Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) and Domestic Violence (DV) Program spoke to Bryan Nehman from WBAL News Radio and answered questions about how the SAFE & DV Program is helping victims of sexual assault and intimate partner violence during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Have you seen an increase in the number of sexual assault and/or domestic violence cases during the COVID-19 quarantine?

Our cases of sexual violence have stayed pretty consistent, but our domestic violence cases have decreased. We know that the reason for this is not that domestic violence is no longer happening, but because many people do not have a safe way to get to us during this time.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a situation involving intimate partner violence or has been a victim of a sexual assault, what would you say to them?

You are not alone. There are still resources available to you and we can still help you even though you cannot leave your home. GBMC’s SAFE & DV Program is always available – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year – and our doors are open no matter what is happening in our world. We know that many are choosing to stay healthy over choosing to stay safe and we understand that. Through 24-hour hotlines and online chat options, our community partners have created alternative ways to reach those who have been affected by sexual assault and domestic violence.

Is this happening across Maryland?

When speaking with other programs around the region, this is something that is happening not just in Maryland but across the country. There has been a significant increase in the amount of hotline calls because it is the safest option for victims right now. We are seeing this across the map, especially with domestic violence victims.

During this time of social distancing and self-quarantine, what advice can you give those affected by sexual assault and domestic violence who have to stay at home?

Everyone’s situation is different. If you are in a high-level situation where your life is at risk, I encourage you to please take a look at all of your different options to reach out for help (resources are listed below). There are hotline calls, you can call our program, or you can use the chat functions with our community partners. Of course, if you are in a great danger, calling 911 is the safest option. The following resources are also available 24/7 for victims of sexual assault and intimate partner violence:

Baltimore County Police Department
  • If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.
  • If 911 is not an option, have a family member or friend call the non-emergency number at 410-887-2222, email, or call the Special Victims Unit at 410-887-2223.
GBMC’s SAFE and DV Program – 443-849-3323,

The Family Tree (parenting helpline) – 1-800-243-7337 or live chat at
  • Connects parents to resources to prevent child abuse and provides family counseling, children and youth services, and public policy and advocacy
Turn Around (helpline) – 443-279-0379,
  • Provides therapeutic services to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence including legal advocacy, shelter, employment readiness, and case management
House of Ruth Maryland – 410-889-7884,
  • Provides services to victims of intimate partner violence including emergency shelter, legal clinic services, counseling services, and abuse intervention
Family Crisis Center – Office: 410-285-4357 – Shelter: 410-285-7496

Baltimore County Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Hotline – 410-828-6390

SARC Harford County – 410-836-8430

National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-7233
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