Category Archives: Public Safety

Tip of the Week: Red Flags within a Relationship

Do you know the expression “love is blinding”? This is a true statement. Even when your gut is telling you that something is wrong, you often ignore it. However, your gut is never wrong. Here are some red flags to look out for when in a relationship:
• Blames others for own faults
• Drug/ Alcohol use/abuse
• Explosive temper
• Extreme jealousy or insecurity
• Fascination with weapons
• Strong gender stereotypes
• Difficulty with authority
• Cannot express emotions verbally
• Treats partner like property/possession
• Isolates you from friends and family
• Blows up about little things
• Thinks it’s okay to resolve conflict with violence
• Checking emails, cellphones and social media without permission
• Constantly insulting or putting down partner and/or humiliating partner in public or in front of loved ones

If you or someone you know sees the warning signs in their relationship, then remember you are not alone and that you have the option to seek help. You can always reach out by contacting NOVA Sexual Assault Services (SAS) directly at or 703-338-0834.
If you would like to learn more about this topic, join us for our Red Flag Campaign on Monday, March 2nd from 11am to 2pm in the LC Café on the Loudoun Campus. Hope to see you there!

Tip of the Week: Staying Healthy During Flu Season

With cold and flu season swinging into full gear, it can be hard to make sure your immune system is keeping up with your everyday life. Here are a few tips that will help you stay healthy:
• Eat More Protein: Diets with low protein can lead to a weaker immune system so make sure you are incorporating protein into every meal!
• Try to be in the Sun: Vitamin D is a great way to help fight off a cold. If you believe you are not getting enough sunlight in your life, try to find foods that are high in Vitamin D like orange juice, cheese, tuna, and egg yolks!
• Drink Some Green Tea: Green tea has been known to be associated with good health because of its high levels of antioxidants, so skip the coffee and drink some tea!
• Get a Good Night’s Sleep: Your body will be susceptible to a cold if you are running on a couple hours of sleep every night. Getting a good night’s sleep is an essential tool to keep your immune system strong.
• Drink Lots of Fluids: Staying hydrated is an easy way to ensure your immune system is strong so make sure you drink lots of water!
• Practice Good Hygiene: Limiting your exposer to germs is essential to staying healthy. Try to take showers daily, wash your hands frequently and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing!

For more tips about staying healthy throughout the semester, visit

Visit the NOVACares Resources page for more info:

Tip of the Week: Stalking

A stalker is not always an unknown person lurking in the shadows. In fact, on college campuses the stalker is often not a stranger at all. Four out of five campus victims know their attacker. These perpetrators have an intimate relationship or close friendship; they may be classmates, co-workers, neighbors, acquaintances, or related to their victims.
What can YOU do if you are being stalked?
• Contact NOVA Sexual Assault services for free confidential help from trained advocates.
• Tell the important people in your life what is happening.
• Reach out to your campus conduct office.
• Make a plan. Consider changing your routine and travel with another person.
• Keep a record of all harassing messages, take screen shots and print-outs for evidence.
• Call NOVA Police, where you can file a report and receive legal assistance.

If you or someone you know is being stalked, contact a 24 hour NOVA Sexual Assault Services Coordinator for free confidential support. Please call or text 703.338.0834 or email For more information and resources about stalking, please visit

Tip of the Week: Sexting Information.

Having pictures of yourself or others at 17 or younger is possession of child pornography. Sexting may seem like a fun way to flirt, but there are so many consequences that can come from it. Naked images are now often being used as blackmail, and adults involved in sexting may be denied admission, face suspension, or even expulsion from college. They may also be fired from jobs and organizations or denied future job opportunities.

To learn more, visit To contact a 24 hour NOVA Sexual Assault Services coordinator for free confidential support, please call 703.338.0834 or email



Tip of the Week: Spring Break Tips

With Spring Break right around the corner, morale seems to be at an all-time high! While the likelihood of something going terribly wrong is low, safety is something you and your friends always have to keep in mind. Looking out for each other is the key to a Safe Spring Break.
1. Plan how much you want to drink, if at all. Set a limit, and make sure your friends know your limit. If you notice one of your friends has had too much, take them to a safe place. Losing a night out is nothing compared to losing a friend!
2. Many people don’t have sex during spring break, but if you decide to, always use protection. Keep in mind that having sex while heavily under the influence may be considered sexual assault.
3. Remember that drugs are illegal. Don’t use them! Many jobs have a ‘clean window’, which means you cannot have experimented from 1 to 10 years before applying.
To find resources or get more information on alcohol and drugs, visit

Spring Break sign with beach background


Welcome Back to NOVA! This is going to be a great year!

NOVACares wishes to welcome everyone to the NOVA Fall 2018 semester. We hope that this is a great experience for all. And remember if you “See Something, Say Something” by completing at NOVACares report. You may report an incident 24/7 on the web by visiting and click on the blue box: “Report Concerns”.  If you need an immediate response ON CAMPUS, please call NOVA Police at 703-764-5000 or if you are OFF CAMPUS dial 911.

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”

Tip of the Week: Looking Out for Others

Looking Out for Others

Fellow students look out for one another through hard times and stressful situations. If you see something as a bystander going on with your fellow student that is not right or out of place, please speak up and say something about it. Speaking up may prevent or identify any such behaviors that may be occurring.
Please report an incident using the online NOVACares Reporting Form by clicking on this link: . The NOVACares Program receives and assesses all reports submitted to the NOVACares Office for urgency and severity and assigns the reports to appropriate parties for review and intervention. The NOVACares database assesses and documents reports of violations of academic integrity, concerning behavior, violations of NOVA’s employee or student handbooks (disciplinary or conduct violations), criminal incidents and sexual misconduct/Title IX incidents. FYI reports are also accepted.
For more information or assistance please contact The NOVACares Office which offers two programs: NOVACares and Sexual Assault Services (SAS). NOVACares website . NOVA Sexual Assault Services at or call 703.338.0834. If someone is in immediate danger call 9-1-1 or NOVA Police at 703.764.5000. To learn more about bystander intervention visit:

Welcome Back! Tip of the Week: Personal Safety

Shared from NOVA Police Newsletter: Personal Safety Tips

The following are tips that can help you avoid becoming a victim of a crime when you are out and about, or working at your job. By taking a few simple precautions, you can reduce the risk to yourself, and also discourage those who commit crimes. Burglars, robbers, and thieves seek primarily to remove cash or property. Many such intruders are capable of harming people with little provocation, so whether at work, at home, or out on the street, these precautions should be taken.
Stay Safe with LiveSafe
 Download LiveSafe, NOVA’s free mobile safety app, through the iTunes or Google Play store. LiveSafe allows you to text issues of concern or request emergency calls for service directly to NOVA’s police, and do so anonymously if you wish. You will also have critical safety information at your fingertips. See .


At Home:
 Become familiar with your neighborhood.
 Always leave your headlights on when arriving home after dark until you have unlocked the garage door, or unlocked the front door.
 When arriving home by private auto or taxi, ask the driver to wait unto you are safely inside.
 Have the door key in your hand so you can open the door immediately when you return home.
 If you are a woman, list only your first initial and last name on the mailbox, or in the telephone directory.
 When moving into a new apartment or residence, ALWAYS have the locks re-keyed, or changed.
 Do not hide a spare key. Burglars know where to look. Leave it with a neighbor.
 Keep doors locked at all times.
 Never give out personal information over the telephone.
 Know who is at your door before opening it. Wide angle door viewers (180 degrees or 190 degrees) enable you to identify the visitor. You can see the person, that person can’t see you.
 Never rely on chain locks. They are a privacy lock, but not a security lock.
 Never dress in front of windows, always close your drapes.
 Never let anyone into your home without proper identification. Don’t be afraid to ask for identification.
 Never let strangers into your home to use the telephone. Make the call for them while they wait outside.
 Always leave outside lights on after dark, or use motion lights.
 If you receive a wrong number phone call, don’t give out your name or phone number.
 If you receive an obscene phone call, hang up and call police.
 In an apartment building, NEVER be alone in the laundry room.
 If you suspect anyone is in your house, do not go in. Go to a neighbor and call the police.
 Keep shrubs/bushes trimmed. Avoid allowing anything to obscure visibility of windows from the street.
 If you see or hear anything suspicious, call the police.
 Have a list of emergency telephone numbers near each telephone.

At Places of Business:
 Opening the business: Have two employees together meet to unlock the business. One should stay outside, while the other checks the interior. After clearing, both may enter.
 Closing the Business: Employees should accompany each other to their vehicles– especially at night. If this is not possible, perhaps a security guard for the shopping center can escort the last employee to his/her car.
 Bank Deposits: Making bank deposits alone can be dangerous. Employees making deposits should always go in pairs. If you are alone, vary deposit times and carry the deposit inside a purse or a plain bag. Do not use a bank bag or a bag with a name on it. Never make deposits after closing, as this is an obvious for hold-ups.
 Taking out the trash: Doing this in pairs is much safer, both for the employees and the business.
 Panic buttons: Install panic buttons at the front counter. Make sure there are phones near both front and rear entrances.
 Controlling Access: This enhances personal security. Keep secondary exits locked. Limit access to secondary exits by non-employees by having doors alarmed and labeled “EMERGENCY EXIT ONLY” or limit access to the area around the door.
 Keep Restrooms Locked: Be in control of access to restrooms, storage areas, etc. This prevents assailants from hiding in waiting and “breakouts.”
 ID Badges for Access Control: T hey are only as good as the enforcement of the policy.
 Visibility: This increases safety. Keep parking and walking areas well lit, and keep the area around the building clear of debris. Stacks of boxes and pallets can be hiding places for assailants. Install mirrors or Closed Circuit TV in rooms with blind corners and in enclosed parking facilities.

Help Keep Employees Safe:
 Keep buildings locked whenever public access is not necessary.
 Watch for suspicious persons (persons not having legitimate business.)
 If you think you are being followed, find other people. Use the “buddy” system.
 Take access control policies seriously.
 If a confrontation occurs:
o Don’t be a hero. Do nothing to risk your personal safety.
o Consider all guns, or threat of guns, as loaded weapons.
o Activate alarms only if you can do so without detection.
o Attempt to alert co-workers only if you can do so safely.
o Follow directions exactly, without volunteering.
o Without seeming obvious, study attacker’s distinguishing features.

While You Are Out:
 Always have a plan.
 Do not walk (or drive) with headphones or while texting.
 Only carry as much money as you need for the day.
 If you must use an ATM, only use it during the day, do not stand at the ATM and count your money, and only use ATMs located in public/well lit areas.
 Try NOT to go out alone at night. Avoid unfamiliar areas, if possible. Walk in a group if possible.
o Request an escort from campus police.
o Tell friends and family about your travel plans, places to be visited, and expected arrival times.
 Don’t take shortcuts: don’t walk in or near alleys, and don’t walk on dark or deserted streets.
 Use caution in parking lots, and don’t walk in poorly lighted areas, or dark doorways, or near shrubbery.
 Don’t accept rides from strangers, and don’t respond to comments from strangers on the street.
 Don’t get into an empty elevator with a stranger. If you do ride with another person, stand near the control panel and if attacked, press as many of the control buttons as possible.
 Don’t hitchhike. If someone suspicious is following you, cross the street and walk into an open business.
 Watch your surroundings and be alert for suspicious persons, especially around banks, stores, street, your car, or home.
 Do not avert your eyes. Be confident. Predators choose the weak.
 If you are alone at work after business hours, keep the door locked.
 If you work late, ask the security guard or a co-worker to walk you to your car.
 Do not go into stairwells alone.
 When meeting a new friend, exchange phone numbers only, not addresses. On a first date, let family and friends know where you are going. Consider a daytime meeting rather than a night meeting, for a first date, and meet in a public place.
 It is never a good idea to go to a nightclub alone, and if you do, provide your own transportation.
 Keep your space – Intimate space: 0 – 1.5 feet, Personal space: 1.5 – 4 feet; Social space: 4 – 12 feet; Public space: 12 feet or more.
 Don’t allow alcohol or drugs to impair your judgment. If you haven’t already set a few social standards, do so and stick to them. Don’t allow an overly aggressive pursuer to change your mind.

In Your Automobile:
 Never pickup hitchhikers.
 Keep your vehicle locked at all times.
 Don’t park in the dark.
 Never leave your keys, registration, important documents, money or credit cards in the car.
o Lock these items in your trunk, out of sight, if you cannot carry them with you.
 Never allow another vehicle to follow you home.
 Have your keys in hand so you can open the car door without delay.
 Always keep your car in gear when stopped at a traffic signal or stop sign, so if threatened in any way, you can quickly drive away.
 Have an emergency kit in your car.
 If your car breaks down, do not accept a ride from a Samaritan who stops to help. Have him call for help.
 Always check the back seat of your car before getting in.
 If you stop to aid others, do not get out of the car. Ask what the problem is, and go to the nearest phone and call the police.
 Always lock your doors while driving.
 Always prearrange meeting with anyone so you do not have to wait alone.
 If you are being stopped by police, put on your flashing lights and pull into a well-lit and populated area. The police will understand you concern for safety.

Riding the Bus or Trolley:
 During off hours, ride as near the operator as possible.
 If you are going to be out late, make sure you have cab fare.
 If someone on the bus bothers you, change seats and tell the operator.
 Have your fare or pass ready in hand when boarding the bus.
 At night avoid dark and isolated intersections or stops.
 Look around when getting off the bus or trolley, and be aware of people around you.
If You Are Attacked
 Use common sense. Try to negotiate, stall for time, and talk your way out of it.
 Be verbally assertive.
 Distract or divert the assailant, then flee. Run toward an open business or a group of people. Hide if you get the opportunity.
 Scream loudly and keep it up to attract attention and help from nearby people.
 If the attacker threatens you with a deadly weapon, and you come out of it alive, you took the proper course of action. During an armed attack, you must decide the proper course of action. There is no hard and fast rule as to self defense. You must consider your physical capabilities, your location, and your perceived chances of success. If you cannot escape, bide your time and look for another opportunity, a half-hearted attempt could be worse than no attempt at all.
 Notify The Police immediately, when you get the opportunity, and if there are witnesses, ask them to stay until police arrive.
 Provide as much detail of suspicious persons as possible.
 It is not advisable to carry guns, clubs, knives, or chemical sprays. It is illegal to carry some of these weapons, and they could be used against you.
 Finally, if a crime occurs, report it, remembering no fact is too trivial. Your report will help the police to assign officers in the places where crimes occur or where they are most likely to occur. If you don’t report a crime, you allow criminals to keep operating without interference.

Purse Protection:
 If at all possible, don’t carry a purse.
 Never leave purses, backpacks or other belongings unattended.
 When possible, carry your wallet, keys, and other valuables on your person, or in an inside pocket, or other suitable place, rather than your purse. Your purse should be used to carry brushes, combs, make-up, etc.
 Credit cards and checks should be carried instead of cash. Maintain a record of the account numbers at home. Practice carrying only the cards you will be using.
 Carry a shoulder bag securely between your arm and body away from traffic.
 If you are wearing a coat, carry a purse worn over the shoulder, but under the coat.
 Watch your surroundings. Be alert for suspicious persons especially around banks, stores, streets, and your home.
 At night, stay in well-lighted areas and avoid walking close to shrubbery, dark doorways, or other places of concealment.
 Practice the “buddy system”, and shop with a friend when possible. When walking in twos, place your purse between you and your friend.
 Carry a clutch bag un-snapped and upside down between your arm and body with any valuables in the zippered compartment. If someone attempts to steal your purse, loosen your grip, thus allowing the contents to fall to the ground.
 Consider “fanny packs” whenever possible.
 If you are attacked, don’t struggle. Your purse can easily be replaced; you can’t be. If there is a witness, ask that person to stay until police arrive.
 Notify police immediately after an attack -911.
Don’t . . .
 Don’t carry large amounts of money. The first rule is to limit your losses.
 Don’t carry more than you can easily afford to lose. Many purse snatches are committed solely to finance narcotic addictions.
 Don’t carry unnecessary valuables in your purse. Avoid being ostentatious.
 Don’t let your purse hang loosely in your hand.
 Don’t carry a lethal weapon; it could be used against you.
 Don’t fight. Surrender your purse.
 Don’t announce your vacation plans on social media.

Tip of the Week: Warning Signs of Dating/Partner Violence

Dating/partner violence is a pattern of behaviors between individuals who are or have been involved in an intimate relationship in which an individual inflicts emotional, financial, psychological, sexual and/or physical harm to his/her partner to assert power and control. Dating/partner violence is abuse within an intimate relationship regardless of marital status and does not depend on whether the couple lives together. It happens in heterosexual and same-sex relationships. Some behaviors within dating/partner violence are considered criminal.

If you or someone you know sees the warning signs in their relationship then remember you are not alone and that you have the option to seek help. You can always reach out to NOVACares by filling out the NOVACares report or by contacting NOVA Sexual Assault Services (SAS) directly at or 703-338-0834.

Below are a list of warning signs
 Explosive temper
 Using physical violence such as choking, pushing or hitting
 Extreme jealousy or insecurity
 Checking emails, cellphones and social media without permission
 Isolation from family and friends
 Controlling partner’s movements or decisions and/or finances
 Coercing or forcing partner to engage in unwanted or nonconsensual sexual acts
 Constantly insulting or putting down partner and/or humiliating partner in public or in front of loved ones
 Making false accusations
 Possessiveness…/2013/02/abusivechecklist1.jpg