Hello, Friends. As you know, things are changing minute to minute with COVID-19. Across the state, our sister organizations are struggling with the same challenges we are – trying to balance our responsibility to provide services to victims with our responsibility to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the potential risk of exposure.
To that end, we have made the difficult decision to move toward suspending most in-person services by the end of this week. Our hotline (800-868-2632) will continue to be available 24/7. Using various online options, we will ensure that our clients can reach their therapists in case of a crisis or emergency. Therapists can determine if their clients need to be seen in person this week to prepare for being out for an indefinite period of time.
Forensic interviews are a critical part of what we provide for law enforcement and DSS in Beaufort, Allendale, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties. We will attempt to schedule as many forensic interviews this week as possible to meet the needs for children who have been abused or witnessed violence. We will also conduct emergency forensic interviews as needed when the child’s immediate safety is at risk.
We have suspended our in-person hospital accompaniment for victims of sexual assault from now until further notice – we will provide advocacy and information over the phone if the victim wants to speak with someone while in the ER. This revised process is in accordance with current hospital guidelines.
We are currently housing six families in our emergency shelter for women and children experiencing domestic violence. However, we will not be accepting new clients at this time. Our staff can work with those in need of shelter to make other safe arrangements.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Please check our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for more information.
We anticipate these changes being in effect through March 31 and we will continue to monitor the situation and look to the CDC, DHEC and Beaufort County’s closure schedule for guidance as to when it’s safe to resume business as usual. We also recognize that it’s highly likely that business will not return to normal for six to eight weeks and are thinking through what that will look like going forward. BUT HOPEFULLY, through our and the community’s efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we will stop it in its tracks.