Tip of the Week: Safety First!

Be Safe at NOVA:

The safety of students, faculty, staff, and visitors at NOVA is top priority. We want to create and maintain a safe, secure environment where learning can flourish. Each campus is staffed with police and public safety officials, emergency preparedness plans and a system for notifying students of campus closures due to inclement weather or other safety issues.
If you see something, say something and help save yourself or someone from becoming a victim of an assault.

The NOVACares Office provides assistance, resources and interventions to members of the NOVA community. You can report your concerns to NOVACares office by submitting an online report to NOVACares Reporting Form. To know more, visit http://www.nvcc.edu/novacares/

Other resources available at the college:

Campus police: Call the NOVA Police dispatch to request information or police services, report a crime or file a complaint.
For emergencies dial 911. For non-emergencies dial 703.764.5000.

Stay Informed: Sign Up for NOVA Alert to stay informed about an emergency (school closings, weather, crime, etc.) by getting text messages to your cell phone and email.

Download LiveSafe App
LiveSafe allows you to report tips or request emergency services anonymously from NOVA Police; send your location to NOVA Police; let friends or family monitor your movements; share your concerns and suggestions with NOVA Police and have critical safety information at your fingertips.
Click here for more information.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NOVACARES Tip of the Week

Have A Safe Spring Break!

Spring Break is around the corner and many students are planning to travel somewhere to relax. Spring Break is fun because you are away from the stress of college and enjoy yourself. However, Spring Break can lead to an unfortunate incident if you aren’t careful.

Here are some ways to avoid trouble and make your Spring Break memorable:

Be careful with drinks: Do not take drinks from strangers who may have intentions of hurting you or the ones around you. Only take drinks from bar tenders or servers. Do not leave your drink unattended. Do not drink and drive.

Protect your belongings: You are an easier target of pickpockets when you are on vacation. Keep track of your card transactions to ensure no one has access to your bank accounts. Only take required cash, bank cards, and IDs with you and leave the rest in your suitcase hotel’s safe.

Look out for each other: You should always plan with your friends about how you will stay in touch with each other. If you feel your friend is uncomfortable around someone or at a party, suggest that it is time to leave and escort your friend to a safe place.

You have the ability to be an active and responsible bystander. Bystander intervention aims to prevent various types of violence including bullying, sexual harassment, sexual assault and intimate partner violence. When you see something that you think is not right, say something, do something and/or get others’ attention to help prevent violence.

To learn more about bystander intervention, visit http://www.nvcc.edu/novacares/sas/bystander.html
Contact NOVACares for questions and concerns at novacares@nvcc.edu or visit www.nvcc.edu/novacares/

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tip of the week: Suicide Prevention

Suicide is a serious health issue nationwide that causes immense amount of pain and suffering to individuals and their family members. Several factors that can trigger suicidal thoughts are loss of loved ones, substance abuse, mental illnesses, and violence. Suicide prevention helps find ways to lower the risk factors that can cause suicidal thoughts and increase factors that provide help, support, and prevent individuals from committing suicide.
PRS Crisis Link Hotline is a local hotline that helps with suicide and stress in Northern Virginia. You can call the hotline to talk to an empathic person who cares about you and your loved ones and wants to help you. If you feel you or your loved one is in danger of hurting themselves call 703.527.4077. The professionals provide free & confidential services 24/7. The hotline can also help you find referrals to mental health and other community services
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24/7 across the United States. Call: 1-800-273-8255
To know more about suicide prevention, visit us online at

“Ask for HELP to fight another day”

Posted in Mental Health Resources, NOVACares, Public Safety, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Creating Healthy Relationships

Tip of the week: Creating Healthy Relationships

ADD; ½ cup of Fairness, 2 tbsp. of Honesty, 1 quart of Respect, 2 loving spoons full of Trust and Support, a pinch of Economic Partnership, & one hundred percent Non-Threatening behavior. Combine all ingredients in an embrace and heat to 98.6 degrees. Let it rise with patience and time. Serve with a dash of kisses.
NOVA Sexual Assault Services is celebrating Healthy Relationships Week in February. This event highlights all healthy and positive things in any type of relationship. Participants will create greeting cards for someone they like or love. All supplies are provided.
To know more about the events or to find out more about Sexual Assault Services contact SAS directly at nova.sas@nvcc.edu or 703-338-0834.

MEC: February 12 from Noon to 2:00 pm @ 1st Floor

Alexandria: February 13 & 14 from 11 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. @ Bisdorf Café

Annandale: February 13 & 14 from 11 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. @ CA 3rd Floor Lounge



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What Is Staking?

What is stalking?

While legal definitions of stalking vary from one jurisdiction to another, a good working definition of stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.

Stalking is serious, often violent, and can escalate over time.
Some things stalkers do:

Follow you and show up wherever you are.
Send unwanted gifts, letters, cards, or e-mails.
Damage your home, car, or other property.
Monitor your phone calls or computer use.
Use technology, like hidden cameras or global positioning systems (GPS), to track where you go.
Drive by or hang out at your home, school, or work.
Threaten to hurt you, your family, friends, or pets.
Find out about you by using public records or online search services, hiring investigators, going through your garbage, or contacting friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers.
Posting information or spreading rumors about you on the Internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth.
Other actions that control, track, or frighten you.

You are not to blame for a stalker’s behavior.
Stalking Victimization

7.5 million people are stalked in one year in the United States.
Over 85% of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know.
61% of female victims and 44% of male victims of stalking are stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
25% of female victims and 32% of male victims of stalking are stalked by an acquaintance.
About 1 in 5 of stalking victims are stalked by a stranger.
Persons aged 18-24 years experience the highest rate of stalking.
11% of stalking victims have been stalked for 5 years or more.
46% of stalking victims experience at least one unwanted contact per week.

[Matthew J. Breiding et al., “Prevalence and Characteristics of Sexual Violence, Stalking, and Intimate Partner Violence Victimization – National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, United States, 2011”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Vol. 63, No. 8 (2014): 7]

[Katrina Baum et al., (2009). “Stalking Victimization in the United States,” (Washington, DC:BJS, 2009).]
If you are being stalked, you may:

Feel fear of what the stalker will do.
Feel vulnerable, unsafe, and not know who to trust.
Feel anxious, irritable, impatient, or on edge.
Feel depressed, hopeless, overwhelmed, tearful, or angry.
Feel stressed, including having trouble concentrating, sleeping, or remembering things.
Have eating problems, such as appetite loss, forgetting to eat, or overeating.
Have flashbacks, disturbing thoughts, feelings, or memories.
Feel confused, frustrated, or isolated because other people don’t understand why you are afraid.

These are common reactions to being stalked.
Impact of Stalking on Victims

46% of stalking victims fear not knowing what will happen next. [Baum et al., (2009). “Stalking Victimization in the United States.” BJS.]
29% of stalking victims fear the stalking will never stop. [Baum et al.]
1 in 8 employed stalking victims lose time from work as a result of their victimization and more than half lose 5 days of work or more. [Baum et al.]
1 in 7 stalking victims move as a result of their victimization. [Baum et al.]
The prevalence of anxiety, insomnia, social dysfunction, and severe depression is much higher among stalking victims than the general population, especially if the stalking involves being followed or having one’s property destroyed. [Eric Blauuw et al. “The Toll of Stalking,” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 17, no. 1(2002):50-63.]

Stalking and Intimate Partner Femicide*

76% of intimate partner femicide victims have been stalked by their intimate partner.
67% had been physically abused by their intimate partner.
89% of femicide victims who had been physically assaulted had also been stalked in the 12 months before their murder.
79% of abused femicide victims reported being stalked during the same period that they were abused.
54% of femicide victims reported stalking to police before they were killed by their stalkers.

*The murder of a woman.

[Judith McFarlane et al., “Stalking and Intimate Partner Femicide,” Homicide Studies 3, no. 4 (1999).]

A stalker can be someone you know well or not at all. Most have dated or been involved with the people they stalk. Most stalking cases involve men stalking women, but men do stalk men, women do stalk women, and women do stalk men.

2/3 of stalkers pursue their victims at least once per week, many daily, using more than one method.
78% of stalkers use more than one means of approach.
Weapons are used to harm or threaten victims in 1 out of 5 cases.
Almost 1/3 of stalkers have stalked before.
Intimate partner stalkers frequently approach their targets, and their behaviors escalate quickly.

[Kris Mohandie et al., “The RECON Typology of Stalking: Reliability and Validity Based upon a Large Sample of North American Stalkers,” Journal of Forensic Sciences 51, no. 1 (2006).]
Stalking Laws

Stalking is a crime under the laws of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Territories, and the Federal government. Click here for a compilation of state, territory, tribal, and federal laws.
Less than 1/3 of states classify stalking as a felony upon first offense.
More than 1/2 of states classify stalking as a felony upon second offense or subsequent offense or when the crime involves aggravating factors.
Aggravating factors may include: possession of a deadly weapon, violation of a court order or condition of probation/parole, victim under 16 years, or same victim as prior occasions.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“The Stalker Files” is coming to Reelz Channel!

“Please tune in to The Stalker Files on the Reelz Channel. Jan. 27 – Madonna; Feb. 3 – David Letterman; Feb. 10 – Gwyneth Paltrow; Feb. 17 – Steven Spielberg; Feb. 24 – Brooke Shields; Feb. 24 – Rebecca Schaeffer; March 3 – Christina Grimmie. Check your local listings for the show times”

About Stalker Files

Take an unnerving dive into the cases of stalkers whose unrelenting obsession with a celebrity led to jarring and sometimes tragic ends. Episodes of this new series include the chilling stalking cases involving Erin Andrews, David Letterman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michael Douglas, Steven Spielberg, Jodie Foster, Christina Grimmie, Rebecca Schaeffer and Brooke Shields. In the series premiere see the stalker story involving Madonna. Every hour-long episode unfolds with two seemingly separate timelines building to a climax of fear and violence with each story presented through expert interviews, recreations, actual case files and insights from seasoned law enforcement officials.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

TOGETHER PROGRAM Announces Openings and New Location: Alexandria!

The TOGETHER Program is a free program to help couples with:

· communication and problem solving
· stress management
· money management
· access to community resources and service
· employment and career needs

TOGETHER is recruiting couples for our Workshops in:

Maryland: Montgomery and Prince George’s counties

Virginia: Fairfax county and Alexandria

We seek couples who are at least 18 years old, speak and understand English, and have lived together for at least 1 year. Gift cards for up to $160 for completion of surveys and $120 more for couples that participate in workshops and an initial meeting. Childcare reimbursement (up to $280) is included for participating and eligible couples when we do not provide child care at workshop locations.

Hear what TOGETHER Participants are saying about the program!

“Overall I have nothing but positive things to say about the program. The information I acquired regarding financial adjustments and debt management have made an impact for me and my family.“

“This program was incredibly rewarding both personally and for my relationships. Facilitators were fantastic and worked very well together. We will continue to deepen the skills learned.”

“I love this program and I would definitely try to take another course if I wanted to or if I had to. It has changed my perspective on marriage and it got me to know my spouse all over again for the first time!!!”

Sign Up Today!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

VA TECH Falls Church Location Announces Openings for Therapy/Counseling

No wait for sliding scale therapy sessions at the Falls Church location! Please share!!


Happy New Year!

It’s the start of a brand new year and we here at the Center for Family Services want to keep everyone updated.

For the Spring 2018 semester, our available time slots are as follows:

Monday: 11:00am to 2:00pm
Tuesday: 5:00pm to 8:00pm
Wednesday: 5:00pm to 8:00pm
Thursday: 5:00pm to 8:00pm
Saturday: 9:00am to 12:00pm

As always, we greatly appreciate and encourage any referrals to our center. Because our center does not take insurance and instead works on a sliding fee scale ranging from $15 to $65, we are a great referral source for those with less-than-enough resources.

Our clinic also offers a Family Plan that allows clients to come in for additional therapy under a different modality (i.e. family, couple, or individual) and pay only $10 for that additional service. For example, if an individual begins therapy and pays $30, then decides to start couples therapy at $10 per session, then the total weekly payment would be $40! We strive to be able to provide as many opportunities and resources to those in the community as we can.

Currently, we have no waitlist and therefore welcome any potential individuals, families, or couples to call our center and complete the 10-15 minute intake over the phone. Due to the nature of our program, we give priority to relational cases like families or couples. Our clinic staff can be reached at 703-538-8470. If no one is available to answer your call, the potential client may leave a message with their name and number and our administrative staff will get back to them as soon as possible.

We want to express to everyone how grateful we are for your continued support. Through the recommendations and referrals you make to those in the community, we are able to fulfill our mission to provide affordable and quality mental health services as well as train the next generation of marriage and family therapists.

Thank you so very much!

Center for Family Services
Northern Virginia Center
7054 Haycock Road
Falls Church, VA 22043
(703) 538-8470
Fax: (703) 538-8465

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Weekly Tip: Learn More about Homeless Shelters & Affordable Housing Assistance

Shelter is a basic need for everyone, and it’s the foundation from which families and individuals can begin to build, or rebuild, their potential to live independently.
If you or someone you know is homeless or in danger of becoming homeless, there are emergency shelters and other community resources available. Please check all these links for further information.
Homeless Shelters in Suburban Virginia
Second Story
Loudoun County Family Services
Northern Virginia Family Service
Arlington Community Assistance Bureau (CAB)
Prince William County ACTS
Area Homeless Shelter Referral List
For more information, please visit our NOVACares website at http://www.nvcc.edu/novacares/index.html

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tip of the Week: Did you know NOVA has an Office of Military and Veterans Services (OMVS)?

The Office of Military and Veterans Services (OMVS) is a centralized office designed to provide comprehensive resources to veterans and military related personnel who are utilizing VA and tuition assistant educational benefits. NOVA’s Office of Military and Veterans Services (OMVS), the Military, and Program Advisors provide guidance on certification requirements and act as liaisons between NOVA and the Department of Veterans Affairs, while assisting you in your transition from the military to being a student. In addition to you using your educational benefits, the Office of Military and Veterans Services (OMVS) goal and mission is centered on students’ success in their academic studies; which includes making sure each recipient understands the policies and regulations of each benefit.

For more information about the Office of Military and Veterans Services (OMVS), please visit our NOVACares website at http://www.nvcc.edu/military/index.html




Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment