How COVID-19 Has Impacted Victim Service Providers in North Carolina

December 21, 2020 | Focus Areas: Ending Gender Violence

The Coronavirus pandemic shifted how we conduct research, provide treatment and care, and seek out medical assistance. COVID-19 also impacted domestic violence and victim service providers (VSP). RTI International published a report examining this topic entitled Impact of COVID-19 on North Carolina’s Victim Service Providers, evaluating the results of a survey conducted on 86 North Carolina VSP.

This study found that the demand for VSP services increased during the lockdown period between April and July, including services related to domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, and others, with crisis-oriented services seeing the sharpest spikes in demand.

A reported barrier to care was limited technology access. VSP reported that clients either did not have privacy to reach out for support or sufficient technological services necessary to access telehealth care. While most services were able to be continued online or in person, technology was a significant obstacle to treatment, and was exacerbated with many VSP not having in-house technological support teams.

The main concern for VSP was, and still is, maintaining the safety of staff and of clients both from a public health perspective and a personal safety perspective. Ultimately, COVID-19 has shifted the way that victim service providers assist clients. It is important to consider the impact that a second, stricter lockdown could have on domestic violence, particularly as the economic impacts of the pandemic continue.

Read the full report here.