Survivors of Sexual Violence Continue to Voice Safety Concerns Due to COVID-19

Survivors of sexual violence continue to express fears about their safety as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitors to RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline cite a number of concerns and challenges posed by the virus and its resulting restrictions.

Minors experiencing sexual abuse are particularly vulnerable at this time. In April, more than half of victims who received help through RAINN’s online chat hotline were minors. The hotline also continues to hear from survivors expressing concerns related to the pandemic and intimate partner violence (IPV). Much like the sessions referencing sexual abuse of children, sessions referencing sexual violence that takes place within romantic relationships have been mostly about safety planning. Of those who engaged in safety planning, 4 in 10 discussed leaving/avoiding the perpetrator.

“RAINN continues to see more visitors to the National Sexual Assault Hotline looking for support and safety planning as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Scott Berkowitz, RAINN’s president. “As states ease their stay-at-home orders, we expect to see an increase in demand for assistance as survivors have greater privacy and freedom of movement to reach out for help. RAINN has been increasing staffing to prepare for this expected surge and to ensure we can be there for survivors when they need us most.”

Learn more about safety planning here.