A Message from NOVA Police – “Keep Yourself Safe”

Keep Yourself Safe at NOVA NOVA campuses are very safe, but our record of safety doesn’t mean it is not important to take steps to protect yourself at all times. There is an assault in this country every minute, and several serious crimes have occurred on or near NOVA campuses.

The most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Do not walk around texting or wearing earbuds while listening to music. Predators prey on inattentive people who are easily surprised. The risk is not only from predators. There are numerous cases of people texting or wearing earbuds and falling or stepping into traffic.

Here are some other tips:

  • Avoid walking in isolated areas on campus and, when possible, walk with a group of people. If you’d like an escort to your vehicle or need a jump start, call college police dispatch. An officer will be sent to your location.
  • If possible, park at night in lighted areas of nearby parking lots.
  • If you encounter someone in a hallway or on campus, present a confident image. Do not slouch or look way. Rather, keep walking and look the person in the eye as you pass.
  • Walk to your vehicle with your keys in your hand.
  • Check the interior of your vehicle before entering it.
  • If confronted by an assailant, do not fight unless your life is in jeopardy. No property is worth your personal injury.
  • Keep your valuables such as computers, cell phones and textbooks under your direct control at all times. Leaving them unattended invites theft.
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash, and keep your cash, ID and credit cards in your pocket.
  • Learn the locations of call boxes on campus and how to use them.
  • Be familiar with panic dialers in classrooms and in offices.
  • In the event of an active shooter, evacuate if possible and do not carry your backpacks, handbags or any parcels which arriving police could suspect of hiding a weapon. If you must shelter in place, remain quiet and be prepared to fight for your life.
  • Get a good description of any assailant (gender, race, height, weight, hair color, accent, odor, clothing, tattoos, etc.) and report same immediately to police.
  • If you see something that concerns you or seems out of place, call the college police. Do not attempt to intervene directly.
  • Sign up for NOVA Alert to be informed of campus safety and security issues.
  • Program NOVA Police Dispatch into your cell phone. You may reach us 24/7 at 703-764-5000.
  • Remember to stay alert at all times. If you have safety or security concerns, report them to your campus police or call Dispatch. Working together, we can make NOVA even safer!

What do “Counselors” at NOVA do?


NOVA Counselors:

Counselors are professionals who are available to assist you in your educational career and life planning. They can help you to make effective decisions and to deal with problems that you may be facing while attending the College. Nature of Counseling and Advising Services:

It may be appropriate to meet with a counselor for one or more of the following issues:

  • Adjusting to college and managing the new academic environment
  • Academic advising and declaring a major
  • Disabilities that impair functioning in class
  • Temporary personal issues impacting academic performance
  • Uncertainty about career or academic major
  • Brainstorming strategies to be successful and to effectively manage concerns
  • Clarifying program and transfer requirements
  • Tools for effective communication and decision-making

Do I Need an Appointment?

In most cases, you can receive services any time through walk-in advising. If you require special services the front desk can help arrange an appointment with a specific counselor.


Mental Health Referrals:

Students who need more intensive or ongoing services should discuss referral options with their counselor. Often students who have health insurance can find reimbursable mental health options in the community. There are also a few options for non-insured students, or for students who do not have mental health coverage on their insurance plans.

Other resources for mental health referrals that you can access include:

  • 211 Virginia: Dial 2-1-1 to get referred, or visit


  • 24 hour Sexual Assault Services Hotline: 703-338-0834,


  • Ulifeline:




Screen yourself using the new “OneLove Danger Assessment App” for domestic violence. What is too much????


http://www.joinonelove.org/library/resources/onelovelite/index.html#da/screening_me (click here to go directly to the questionnaire)


Welcome to the Danger Assessment App.

Everyone deserves to be safe and healthy in their relationship, including when a relationship ends.

Sometimes it can be hard to determine whether you’re experiencing the typical ups and downs of relationship stress and conflict, or whether you’re experiencing an abusive relationship that puts you at risk of deadly violence.

This app is designed to inform you of your risk of being killed by an abusive partner or ex-partner.

Due to the sensitivity of this of this information, the app will disable itself after one use, but it can be downloaded again.

All of your information is completely anonymous.  No record is being kept of your user information or responses.  No data can or will be shared with 3rd parties.  At the completion of this app you will be provided with information and resources so you can contact professionals who can help you keep yourself safe.  No one associated with the OneLove Danger Assessment app can or will contact you individually.

Sometimes abused women end up in contact with the criminal justice system — whether to seek protective orders or because they have been assaulted by an abuser.  Please be advised that there is no record of your responses, and your answers cannot be subpoenaed for future use.

Resources for keeping yourself safe are available at the end of this app.  If you believe you are in immediate danger, dial 911.

To start, we’d like to find out a little bit about the relationship that concerns you – even if it is with an ex-partner.



Active Shooter Trainings This Week – Lead by NOVA Police Officer, Tony Ong

September is CAMPUS SAFETY Month!

Help keep our campus safe! If You See Something, Say Something!  Report it using NOVACares!  www.nvcc.edu/novacares

Active Shooter Trainings this week throughout NOVA.  Make plans to attend the best one for your schedule.  Just email Officer Tony Ong at tong@nvcc.edu to reserve your spot.
From NOVA’s Police Department:
Good morning,
As a friendly reminder, the NOVA Police will be hosting a Fall Active Shooter Response Training campus wide. Please refer to the dates and locations below and e-mail me if you are interested in attending.
  • All training will be held from 12 pm-1 pm.
Topics include:
• What is an Active Shooter?
• Statistics/case studies
• Tips on how to protect yourself and others
 Resources Dates/Times: 
• Annandale– September 16, CE Building, Seminar Room C&D
• Alexandria– September 17, AA158
• Woodbridge– September 18, WS 109
• Manassas– September 19, MP 217
• Loudoun– September 20, LC 209
Regards, Tony
OFC. Tony Ong
Community Resource/Crime Prevention Officer
Police Department
Northern Virginia Community College
3001 N. Beauregard Street Alexandria, Virginia 22311
Office: (703) 933-1850 Cell: (703) 229-2527

Bystander Intervention/Prevention


Bystander Intervention/Prevention

You will be a bystander. It could be at a party, when you notice two people headed upstairs. Person A is extremely intoxicated, Person B is not. Or earlier in the night, when you saw Person B giving drink after drink after drink to Person A.

Or maybe it’s in your dorm, when your friend makes that comment about what a (insert expletive here) his (girlfriend-friend-someone else) is and he’s staring at you, waiting for a reaction.

Or maybe it’s in the classroom, when someone comments that she “just got raped by that exam.”

It can be difficult. You’re involved – but you’re not the target. These moments, which sometimes seem small or unimportant, can have an impact. You might be able to prevent sexual assault from occurring or even potentially work to change a culture that allows this type of violence to occur. But sometimes it can seem daunting, which is why it’s important to remember that big change is made through your response to those little moments. In other words, you don’t have to end sexual violence all by yourself and it isn’t going to happen all at once.

It Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult

Often, people have concerns about intervening in moments where they feel something is wrong. They may think that they just don’t have all the information, that no one will support them, or that there could be a safety risk in getting involved.

Bystander intervention means taking actions that make sense to you in that moment. This means trusting your gut – acknowledging when there is a remark or situation that is a problem to you and also recognizing what you are willing to do and not do. There is no perfect response, there is only the best response you can offer in the moment. The safety of both yourself and the victim is a priority and often times there is more than one thing you can do.

So What to Do?

Consider the situation as well as all your available options. You may choose to intervene directly or indirectly and you may choose to reach out to other friends and bystanders for support.

For example, think about the first scenario above, where someone is giving another person drink after drink and then taking that person to a secluded area. Some methods of bystander intervention would be:

  • Chat them up: talk to Person A and Person B throughout the night. If you notice Person B pushing drinks, you can make a comment like, “We still have a couple of hours to go…think we all might have to slow down” or “I think she’s had plenty.”
  • If Person A looks uncomfortable, help him/her by giving them an out. You might say he/she has a friend trying to get a hold of him/her on your cell phone or ask their friends to go over with some other kind of distraction.
  • You and other friends can follow them up the stairs and let them know you’re there to help. Tell Person A or Person B that their ride is leaving without them, that a buddy is trying to find them, or something else that would get them back downstairs.

What about if a friend is being derogatory about or aggressive towards someone in their life?

  • Think about your response – even an disapproving look sends a message.
  • Call them out – “Dude, you can be mad, but don’t talk about her that way” or “You seem to be pretty angry lately and I’m worried you’re hurting yourself and other people. Do you need my help?”
  • Set the tone – continue showing respect for the people around you and modeling good behaviors.

And what about those little comments?

Something you may hear more often than you realize are comments or jokes that undermine the severity of rape and sexual assault. Most of the time, people just aren’t thinking about the impact of their words. It’s something to consider though, especially since research indicates that 1 in 4 females and 1 in 6 males are sexually abused by age 18. That means that it’s very likely that there is someone (or multiple people) in your life that has been the victim of rape or sexual assault, even if he or she has never talked about it with you before. There are cultural implications of rape comments/jokes (which, if you want to learn more about this, you can – google “Why Shouldn’t I Use Rape Jokes” and you will find many insightful articles on the topic), but putting that aside, just keep one thing in mind – you can’t know the full story about the person sitting next to you, even if you know them well, so it’s helpful to consider the language you use before you use it and to address another person’s language if he/she is throwing around the word “rape” carelessly.

For more information on bystander intervention, visit our Resources page.

What if someone discloses to me that they were the victim of rape/sexual assault?

When you’re a proactive bystander and are informed about these issues, you may find that people in your life are more likely to disclose victimization to you. For information about how to respond, see What To Do If Someone I Know Has Been Sexually Assaulted.

You are part of the campus community, so make sure you’re connected with your own institution’s programs and resources. Look to your campus sex offense policy to understand your campus processes and options. Find out who is doing sexual assault prevention education on campus and how you can get involved. Whether you’re an athlete, part of a student group, or play another role at your college or university, remember that you’re a leader, which means that you can set an example and get others engaged in prevention, as well.

Your institution has started the conversation.

You are part of the campus community, so make sure you’re connected with your own institution’s programs and resources. Look to your campus sex offense policy to understand your campus processes and options. Find out who is doing sexual assault prevention education on campus and how you can get involved. Whether you’re an athlete, part of a student group, or play another role at your college or university, remember that you’re a leader, which means that you can set an example and get others engaged in prevention, as well.