I hope this email finds you all healthy and safe during these challenging times. Here at the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) we continue to work at full capacity, albeit remotely, to support you in the critical delivery of services to all victims of crime. Thousands of victims of crime rely on OVC grantees as they work to rebuild their lives and they need you now more than ever.
Social distancing, lockdowns, and shelter-in-place orders may have left victims of domestic violence confined in close quarters with their abusers. Seniors who are cut off from seeing family may be at a greater risk of falling victim to financial fraud. With most schools closed, children living in abusive or unstable homes are more likely to be exposed to intimate partner violence or abuse themselves. Without daily routines outside of the home, opportunities for these victims to reach service providers narrow. Nonetheless, our commitment to serving victims remains the same.
Over the last few weeks, I've heard from many of you in the field that COVID-19 is stretching your resources and presenting challenges to your ability to conduct victim outreach and care. At the same time, I've heard about your innovative efforts to continue providing the critical services needed. You've researched technology resources to deliver services and manage cases; successfully implemented infectious disease responses; identified opportunities to share resources; and learned new, important ways to take care of yourselves so you can take care of others.
I am in awe of your resiliency and that of the victims and survivors you support.
Starting with the White House, the COVID-19 response is a whole-of-government effort, and I thought it would be useful to provide a round-up of COVID-19-related government guidelines and resources that may help you continue to provide high quality support and advocacy to survivors.
We know some of you may be feeling unsettled and, yet, many of you have reached out to OVC to express your readiness to assist victims. Just as you stand ready to assist victims, we stand ready to assist you.
Jessica E. Hart
Director, Office for Victims of Crime