As the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues and tribes deal with stay-at-home orders and social distancing, it is important to recognize advocacy and shelter as essential. Tribal shelters and programs have limited housing and resources under routine circumstances, but due to social distancing or self-isolation in response to COVID-19, Native women are at an increased risk of danger when escaping violence.
NIWRC recognizes advocates working in local programs and shelters are facing additional challenges as they seek to continue uninterrupted services for survivors. Below are some recommendations and resources to support you during this transition, including a new Guidance for Tribal Programs in response to COVID-19 developed by our staff.
While these are unprecedented times, we urge everyone to uplift the local programs near you that are working to help survivors in need, as well as keep our relatives dealing with intensified barriers to safety in your prayers. In times of crisis, we may find ourselves and our faith shaken to the core. Remember it is a sign of strength to reach out for help. We also encourage everyone to offer assistance to elders, women and children, and to those with underlying health issues during these difficult times. We are all interconnected, and we are all in this together.
New NIWRC Resource: Guidance for Tribal Programs
NIWRC has released a Guidance for Tribal Programs to assist in providing services during this unprecedented time. As this situation evolves, this guidance may be updated and improved as new lessons are learned and new research and additional guidance becomes available. This guidance, which can be viewed here, is adapted from NNEDV's COVID-19: Coalition Guidance for Programs and includes culturally specific information on:
- Precautionary Measures
- Provision of Alternative Services, and
- Additional Things to Keep in Mind
Guidance from Federal Agencies and Partners
- ACF - Information Memorandum: IM-ACF-OA-2020-01: ACF grant flexibilities in conducting human service activities related to or affected by COVID-19
- FVPSA - Frequently Asked Questions on Allowable Use of Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) Funds for Domestic Violence Shelter and Supportive Services
- OVW - Guidance to Award Recipients Impacted by COVID-19. Short Term Relief for Various Administrative Financial Management and Audit Requirements
- OVW – Notice - Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women DC staff Transition to Telework and Related Information
- OVW – Notice – Guidance to Review Human Resources Policies Impacted by COVID-19
- OMB - Administrative Relief for Recipients and Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) due to Loss of Operations
Resources for DV Coalitions, Programs and Advocates
- COVID-19: Coalition Guidance for Programs
- Using Technology to Communicate with Survivors During a Public Health Crisis (find additional related resources in their Digital Services Toolkit)
- Best Practices for Mobile Advocacy
- How to Operate as a Remote Workplace During a Public Health Crisis
In response to the current national emergency, the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health has developed a tip sheet outlines key steps in advocating for survivors’ continued access to mental health and substance use services and medication. Substance use disorder treatment and mental health services can be difficult to access under regular circumstances. During this national emergency, there are new kinds of barriers to accessing treatment as well as new and emerging policies designed to address them. You can view and download the tip sheet here.
Resources for Indian Country - Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) established a website to provide factual information from trusted sources about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the United States. Check back for updates as the situation changes. NCAI also encourages tribal nations to be in contact with and to follow their state and local governments for advice and direction unique to the situation in their state. NIWRC is sharing the website compiled by NCAI to aid in your response.
Resources for Tribal Public Health - Coronavirus (COVID-19)
In response to the developing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) developed a COVID-19 Tribal Resource Center to serve as a hub for a Tribal COVID-19 response. The page will house up to date resources, links, and policy and public health updates specifically for Tribes and Tribal communities. NIHB will work diligently to keep this response page updated, relevant and flexible to meet the needs of Tribes in this constantly shifting and evolving environment. NIWRC is sharing the website compiled by NIHB to aid in your response.
NIWRC is also providing a link to the Indian Health Service information webpage on the response to COVID-19. The Indian Health Service is working closely with tribal partners and state and local public health officials to coordinate a comprehensive public health response to the ongoing pandemic.