WASHINGTON, D.C. – Attorney General Karl A. Racine today shared resources to help combat domestic violence in the District during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the District’s stay-at-home order and social distancing guidelines are necessary to slow the spread of coronavirus, it may threaten the safety of residents who live with an abuser and experience intimate partner violence, including physical and sexual violence. In fact, D.C. Survivors and Advocates for Empowerment (SAFE), the District’s only 24/7 crisis intervention agency for domestic violence, saw their calls double during the first two weeks of the declared public health emergency. The Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) Domestic Violence and Special Victims Section works to protect victims of domestic violence by obtaining civil protection orders (CPO) on their behalf and prosecuting individuals who violate CPOs. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call or text 911.
“While staying at home is necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, it does not mean that victims of domestic violence or other physical and mental abuse should hesitate to seek assistance,” said AG Racine. “The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is partnering with District agencies, community-based organizations, and supportive businesses to help victims. Anyone in the District who believes they are in immediate danger should immediately contact 911. Victims should also feel free to contact OAG. Our attorneys are eager to help domestic violence survivors seek court orders that protect them from their abusers and to prosecute abusers who violate those orders.”
Court Protection Orders
Residents can seek two types of court protection orders for their safety: Civil Protection Orders (CPO) and Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO). A CPO can require a person to not harass, stalk, threaten, assault or have any contact with the petitioner. An ERPO requires the temporary removal of firearms and ammunition from a potentially dangerous person. District residents can still petition the Court for these protection orders under its altered operating status:
- Protecting Domestic Violence Survivors from Abusers (Civil Protection Orders): Residents can file a petition for a CPO by calling the D.C. SAFE Response Line at 1-800-407-5048 to have an advocate help them through the process or alternatively, can electronically file themselves through the D.C. Superior Court at: https://www.probono.net/dccourts/. Currently, all CPO cases are being scheduled for a date after May 15, 2020, but petitioners can request a Temporary Protection Order (TPO) when filing to protect them until their CPO court date. TPOs that were issued for two weeks and were to expire in March will not expire until May 15th or the next assigned court date.
For those who have a CPO or TPO and the respondent is violating the order, call or text 911 if you are in immediate danger or call the D.C. SAFE Response Line at 1-800-407-5048 for assistance in filing a Motion for Criminal Contempt.
- Removing Guns from Dangerous Persons (Extreme Risk Protection Orders): Residents can seek an ERPO by filling out this form electronically and then contacting the Court to complete the filing by phone at (202) 879-0157 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about ERPOs by reading OAG’s Red Flag Law guide.
Domestic violence shelters remain open for those in need of safe housing. To learn more about safe housing programs and services, contact:
- D.C. Department of Human Services 24-hour shelter hotline at 202-399-7093.
- District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH) at 202-290-2356 ext. 101.
- D.C. Victims Hotline at 1-844-4HELPDC.
Local Domestic Violence Service Providers
The District has several community-based organizations that are providing services to help protect residents from domestic violence during COVID-19. Below is a list of local service providers in alphabetical order, their contact information, and services offered:
- https://www.ayuda.com/; 202-387-4848
- Services offered: Free legal advice, brief services, and full representation for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking in Civil Protection Orders and family law. Also offers free social services including case management and therapy for survivors and immigration legal services.
- Bread for the City
- https://breadforthecity.org/; 202-386-7616
- Services offered: Free legal advice, brief services, and full representation for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and family violence in Civil Protection Orders, family law, public benefits, and housing cases.
- Break the Cycle
- https://www.breakthecycle.org/; 202-849-6282 or email email@example.com
- Services offered: Free legal and advocacy services, including legal advice, brief services and full representation for survivors of domestic violence, dating abuse, sexual assault and stalking in Civil Protection Order, custody, child support, Title IX and Crime Witness Advocacy
- D.C. Volunteer Lawyers Project
- https://www.dcvlp.org/; 202-425-7573 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Services offered: Free legal advice, brief services, and full representation for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking and to caregivers of at-risk children in protection order cases, family law cases (custody, custody modification, and divorce), and immigration cases.
- Joint Law School Clinic Helpline (George Washington University Law School, Georgetown Law Center, Catholic University Columbus School of Law)
- Call 202-603-9760 or 202-603-5870
- Services offered: Assistance with drafting and filing civil protection order petitions; advice about creation and preservation of evidence for trial; advice about TPO/Emergency Temporary Protection Order (EPTO) testimony; connecting to D.C. SAFE for ETPO and other safety planning and shelter resources; and referrals to DV legal service providers for possible representation.
- Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia
- https://www.legalaiddc.org/; 202-628-1161 or online intake at www.legalaiddc.org/online-intake/
- Services offered: Free legal advice, brief services, and full representation to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or family violence in civil protection order, family law, public benefits, housing, consumer, and immigration cases.
- Neighborhood Legal Services Program
- http://www.nlsp.org/; 202-832-6577 or online intake at www.nlsp.org or https://tinyurl.com/sedqrb7
- Services offered: Free legal advice, brief services, and representation for domestic violence survivors in civil protection order cases, family law, housing, consumer law, and barriers to employment matters.
- Network of Victim Recovery of DC (NVRDC)
- https://www.nvrdc.org/; 202-742-1727
- Services offered: For crime victims of all crime types, including domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking: representation in the assertion of their crime victims’ rights in juvenile delinquency proceedings and adult criminal cases. For survivors of domestic violence, dating abuse, sexual assault, and stalking: free legal advice, brief services, and full representation in Civil Protection Order proceedings and college and university campus misconduct proceedings and accommodations requests under Title IX/Clery Act. All legal clients are eligible for NVRDC’s advocacy/case management services, including assistance with Crime Victims Compensation applications.
- Victim Legal Network of DC (VLNDC)
National Domestic Violence Resources
National domestic violence organizations also have resources and information on how to stay safe while sheltering in place:
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
- https://www.thehotline.org/; 1-800-799-7233 (1-800-799-SAFE) | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
- National Sexual Assault Hotline (RAINN)
- https://rainn.org/; 1-800-656-4673 (1-800-656-HOPE)
OAG’s COVID-19 Resources
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is teleworking until at least May 15. You can access OAG services online and over the phone during our telework period at:
- Website: oag.dc.gov
- Email: email@example.com and OAGCommunity@dc.gov
- Phone: (202) 727-3400
- Fax: (202) 347-8922
- TTY: (202) 727-3400
For updates from OAG on COVID-19, consumer tips, resources, and warnings:
- Sign up for OAG’s newsletter
- Bookmark and visit OAG’s Coronavirus Information Page
- Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
Know Your Rights: Read OAG’s Consumer Alert—available in multiple languages—to protect yourself from scams, price gouging, discrimination, and to get information about consumer, worker, and tenant rights during the pandemic.
For more District Government updates about coronavirus, visit coronavirus.dc.gov