COVID-19: Stay-at-home orders could create new dangers for sexua - FOX34 Lubbock

COVID-19: Stay-at-home orders could create new dangers for sexual assault, domestic violence victims

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The Stay-At-Home orders could create new dangers for victims of sexual assault or domestic violence, trapping them with their abusers.

"It definitely puts victims of sexual violence in a bad position, especially if they live with their abuser," Leslie Timmons, community educator for Voice of Hope - Rape Crisis Center, said.

Even if victims do not live with their abusers, Timmons said these times can make victims feel isolated and uncertain about the future. This can add more stress and trigger bad memories.

"So we want to be very concerned with victims, you know, that might be going through a different level of anxiety and depression. We really want to let them know that people are there to support them," she said.

Voice of Hope has not seen an uptick in victims going to the hospital for sexual assault exams, but Timmons said that does not mean it is not happening.

"It may be that people just don't feel comfortable going to the hospital right now, but I want to assure everybody that we're taking all the safety precautions that we can for our victims," she said. "So, they should feel comfortable if they need to go to the hospital if they've been assaulted and its been 120 hours since their assault."

Once things get back to normal, she said she expects to see an increase in reports.

Throughout this uncertainty, Timmons said she wants victims to know they are still here for them. Voice of Hope's 24-hour crisis hotline is still open, and counselors remain busy seeing new victims remotely. 

Timmons also said check on your loved ones.


"Check on your people, check on your loved ones and family, and just, a simple phone call could be all that it takes for people to know that somebody's there for them," she said.

If you are a victim of sexual assault, click here to get in touch with Voice of Hope. It can set you up with a counselor and other resources. If you are a victim of domestic violence, click here to reach out to Women's Protective Services. If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.

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