Guidance for Idaho Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Programs

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response

The Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence knows that domestic violence and sexual assault programs are navigating these uncertain times with care and concern. As programs adapt to providing services to survivors while complying with the recommendations of the CDC and Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare, it is imperative that we remain connected and rooted in community.

Disbelief, confusion, and grief are all completely understandable responses to what is happening right now. There are community members who have long navigated their lives with vulnerable immune systems to whom we can look for guidance in adapting to working and thriving from home. (“Disabled Oracles and the Coronavirus”). And if this moment offers anything, it is the affirmation that we possess the wisdom of our ancestors and descendants necessary to lead us through this pandemic intact and caring for each other, all beings, and the earth. Let us carry that knowledge forward as we support victims and survivors during this health crisis.

Programs are not alone in discerning how to move forward. The Idaho Coalition continues to be a resource to work through questions on how to support the well-being of staff and survivors as you continue to provide the vital services to survivors in your area. Below you will find some recommendations we believe will guide you through the process of making the necessary adjustments during this health pandemic. We are here for you, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@engagingvoices.org.

What programs can do right now:

  • Reach out to your local health department for more guidance and updates about COVID-19
  • Review your organization’s disaster management and preparedness plan and work with staff to make sure they are aware of the plan and how to implement it
  • Plan with program staff and community partners for how you will continue to provide essential services and meet the needs of vulnerable populations. In line with best practice and FVPSA regulations, programs cannot require survivors to submit to tests or evaluation in order to access services.
  • Actively encourage employees to stay home if they are feeling sick.
  • Prioritize getting flexible, emergency financial assistance out ASAP, food assistance, and long-term housing assistance for survivors who may be or will begin experiencing losses of work hours or jobs. Our economic justice advocacy matters. For survivors, they may begin to lose work hours or jobs (especially if working in our service economy), housing, access to food (no school lunches, food banks shuttering)
  • Cancelling in-person meetings and events and prohibit all non-essential work travel until at least the end of April.
  • Consider shifting to remote or mobile advocacy and connecting by phone/apps/web chats with survivors safely and confidentially. If you’re not sure you are using best practices or are not sure how to use technology safely and confidentially, here are a few resources from the National Network to End Domestic Violence’s Safety Net Project, including two new ones specific to public health crises:
  • Check out this CDC resource for homeless shelters, which has some good information and printable posters & fact sheets that can translate to our shelter work, too: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/homeless-shelters/plan-prepare-respond.html

Supporting your staff:

  • Encourage staff to stay home if they are feeling sick and allow all staff that can work remotely to do so, whether sick or not.
  • Clean offices, shelters, public spaces as frequently as possible, ideally every 2 hours
  • Have regular check-ins with staff to check on their emotional and psychological wellness. Check ins can take place via telephone, zoom, google hangouts or other platforms
  • Review or write a plan in case someone who accesses your facilities contracts COVID-19 or has had contact with someone who has COVID-19 (see resources section below for more information)
  • Now is a great time to review your sick leave and administrative leave policies and if they need to be updated or written do so and have your board review and take necessary action on them as soon as possible to ensure staff can continue to be paid as necessary throughout the duration of this pandemic

Not sure how to do any of that? Contact us for help by emailing or calling kelly@engagingvoices.org, (208-284-1724) or annie@engagingvoices.org, (208-389-8050).

Additional Resources for member programs providing services to DV and SA survivors:
National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) Futures Without Violence

Idaho Health District Map and Contact Information

Idaho’s website for official resources for COVID-19

The CDC’s COVID-19 resource center