Coronavirus precautions could lead to increased domestic violence incidents

TAP will keep hotline open to calls and texts 24/7 at 540-580-0775

ROANOKE, Va. – Many people are staying inside their homes as the coronavirus spreads across the county.

Total Action for Progress, a community action agency serving the Roanoke Valley, has a line open for those who feel unsafe at home because of domestic violence.

“The most important thing is to get out. To not stay," said Stacey Sheppard, TAP’s director of domestic violence services. "Seek those resources, and don’t be fearful.”

Sheppard said the domestic violence hotline, 540-580-0775, will remain open to calls and texts 24/7 as people practice social distancing and stay home.

“When people are cooped up together and times are even more stressful, we know that intimate partner abuse and domestic violence situations will increase," explained Sheppard.

Sheppard said members of her staff are working remotely to comply with the Centers for Disease Control’s guidelines, but victims of domestic violence will still have access to the resources they usually provide.

“As far as actual crisis intervention and reaching out and getting help, we’re still here," Sheppard said. "We’re present for that.”

Sheppard said it is different not meeting and advising domestic violence victims face-to-face, but that she will do whatever it takes to get people out of dangerous situations.

“All of that can be planned and worked out," Sheppard said. “That’s the scariest part, leaving and not knowing the next step."

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