My Sister's House remains committed to providing comprehensive support, services, and education within and beyond the walls of our shelter. As we continue to adjust to this new normal, we are finding creative ways to address the unique needs and challenges of our clients and community during this time. MSH will continue to follow the guidance of the SC Department of Health and Environmental Controls (DHEC) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and follow the directives of state and local authorities to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.


Below, you will find a comprehensive list of our service and program updates. Please note that this list is continuously updated–check back here for the most up-to-date information.


Our crisis line service remains fully operational. Our advocates are standing by 24/7 to assist victims of domestic violence. Call us at 843-744-3242


MSH continues to provide emergency crisis shelter for victims of domestic violence and their children. In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 MSH may ​use alternative housing solutions, such as hotels, to meet the needs of clients. MSH will continue to provide case management, advocacy, therapy, and essential needs (food, clothes, toiletries, etc.) to all shelter clients, regardless of location. Call 843-744-3242 for intake. 


Our dedicated therapists are working hard to meet the need in our community by providing therapy via phone and video. If you are a victim or survivor in need of therapy, please call us at 843-744-3242. 


MSH's staff court advocate remains available to help victims of domestic violence with filing for an Order of Protection or through the family/criminal court process in Charleston, Dorchester, and Berkeley counties. Our court advocates will be adhering to the COVID specific procedures for each county. To discuss our Court Advocacy services, please contact Nicole today at 843-225-6136. ​


We are currently only accepting NEW, urgently needed items in the donation center. For the full list of needed items and drop-off hours visit If you are looking to host a drive, please review the urgent needs list and contact us at 843-576-0061.  We appreciate your support! 


Our contact-free drop-offs for used clothing, shoes, linens, and accessories are still available 24/7. To find a location near you visit


The MSH Education and Training team remains committed to the work of building awareness and increasing education about the issue of domestic violence in our community. We are currently offering training to businesses, organizations, clubs, etc. via Zoom and in-person (when CDC & DHEC guidelines permit). If you are interested in having MSH present to your group, contact our Director of Education/Training at 843-225-6397.


We are currently utilizing already trained volunteers at a very limited capacity. If you are interested in applying to become a volunteer when we reopen the program, please visit our volunteer page for updates. 

Woman Texting

For Survivors: Increased Risk of DV

For victims of domestic violence, shelter in place and quarantine orders are terrifying. Home, for them, is often not a safe place to be. Abusers will use any tactic possible to yield power and control over their victims, even a pandemic.

  • Isolation: Abusers can use this time to further isolate survivors from their loved ones. They may also use this as a time to further restrict a survivor’s movement in person, controlling where they go and when. They might also control a survivor’s interactions online, limiting their access to the outside world.
  • Restricting Access to Information: Abusers may also restrict access to the news and other outlets, making themselves the source of all information.
  • Increased Abuse: The abuse may worsen during this time as survivors may be spending more time in contact with their abusers. Survivors may also experience new or different types of abuse during this time.
  • In-Person and Digital Stalking: Abusers might try to exert their power by trying to monitor, control and stalk survivors in person and digitally.
  • Financial Abuse: Many individuals are experiencing financial burdens due to being unable to work, and abusers may further financially exploit survivors during this time.
  • Parenting: Survivors who co-parent their children with their abusers may be facing unique challenges during these times, such as barriers to visitation and/or increased exposure to the abuser due to lack of accessible childcare. For example, in order for a survivor to work, he/she/they may need to utilize their abuser for childcare.
  • Access to Services: Additional family stress, increased isolation and economic uncertainties add an accelerant to an already dangerous situation and make physically or emotionally abusive relationships much worse. Other community resources, such as faith based organizations, schools, courts and other non-profit organizations are scaling back services. Such networks of support would previously provide additional layers of help and accountability for families at risk for domestic violence. Victims of domestic violence have less resources for help, and feel more trapped.


  • Before the Coronavirus Pandemic, SC ranked #5 in the US for the number of deaths of women by men, up from #6. This number alone shows the critical need for our services in the Lowcountry.
  • The federal grant, VOCA (Victims of Crime Act) has been reduced by 18% in 2020, cutting into critical services of shelter, counseling and advocacy for victims of domestic violence.
  • The need for emergency domestic violence services will likely spike during and following COVID-19. Additional family stress, increased isolation and economic uncertainties are all contributing factors in the multi-faceted problem that is domestic violence. Other community resources, such as faith based organizations, schools, courts and other non-profit organizations help combat these issues with their services. In a time, when all businesses and non-profits are scaling back services, these resources may be limited or unavailbile increasing the need for MSH.
  • When we cannot provide adequate social distancing and quarantine capacity and staffing in community living shelters, we have to provide resources for immediate health and safety for victims of domestic violence and their children via emergency hotel stays and provisions for food, transportation and other basic needs.
  • Fundraisers held during this time are postponed indefinitely and/or cancelled. Overall giving, because of economic instability may be stalled or decreased. My Sister's House depends on these fundraisers and individual giving to not only fund regular budget operations, but also to shore up additional funding for 2021 decreased grant funding.
Domestic violence agencies are first responders to very lethal situations. Many victims will call for safety from domestic violence organizations before or instead of law enforcement assistance or even emergency health care.


All of the following resources are accessible, despite COVID-19.

Hotline Consultant

Staying Safe

Avoiding public spaces and working remotely can help to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but for many survivors, staying home may not be the safest option. We know that any external factors that add stress and financial strain can negatively impact survivors and create circumstances where their safety is further compromised. Abuse is about power and control. When survivors are forced to stay in the home or in close proximity to their abuser more frequently, an abuser can use any tool to exert control over their victim, including a national health concern such as COVID-19. In a time where companies may be encouraging that their employees work remotely, and the CDC is encouraging “social distancing,” an abuser may take advantage of an already stressful situation to gain more control. Here’s how COVID-19 could uniquely impact intimate partner violence survivors:

  • Abusive partners may withhold necessary items, such as hand sanitizer or disinfectants.
  • Abusive partners may share misinformation about the pandemic to control or frighten survivors, or to prevent them from seeking appropriate medical attention if they have symptoms.
  • Abusive partners may withhold insurance cards, threaten to cancel insurance, or prevent survivors from seeking medical attention if they need it.
  • Programs that serve survivors may be significantly impacted –- shelters may be full or may even stop intakes altogether. Survivors may also fear entering shelter because of being in close quarters with groups of people.
  • Survivors who are older or have chronic heart or lung conditions may be at increased risk in public places where they would typically get support, like shelters, counseling centers, or courthouses.
  • Travel restrictions may impact a survivor’s escape or safety plan – it may not be safe for them to use public transportation or to fly.
  • An abusive partner may feel more justified and escalate their isolation tactics.
Here’s what our Advocates have heard from some survivors reaching out:
  • “A chatter mentioned that the abuser was using the virus as a scare tactic to keep the survivor away from their kids.”
  • "A chatter said the abuser was using COVID-19 as a scare tactic so that they would not visit family.”
  • “A health professional still living with their abuser called and said they were physically abused that night because their abuser was sure they were trying to infect them with COVID-19.

Safety Tips From Survivors For Survivors

1. Buddy System Code Word Identify at least two people that you can contact with a “code word” to let them know if you are in trouble. Plan in advance what they should do if you send them the code word. 2. “Safest Room” If there is an argument, identify an area of the home you can move to where there are no weapons and there are ways for you to leave the house, apartment, or building, such as a door or window to exit the house/apartment. For some survivors, especially those quarantined at home with an abuser during coronavirus, no room may feel safe, so we call it the “safest room”. If you can at least identify the lowest risk areas, you may be able to reduce harm. 3. Planning with Children

  • Code Words: If you have children, decide how to communicate urgency. For example, when one survivor’s daughter was little, the survivor would open her arms and the daughter knew that meant to come running to her for safety. Some survivors also create a “code word” with their children that means they should go to the “safest room” in the home that you have already decided upon.
  • Emergency Numbers: If for some reason you are not able to make emergency calls and you have children, give them the safety number(s), if they are old enough. Please see the Resources section listed below for some emergency phone numbers.
4. Notifying the Police Before an Emergency Ahead of time, you can notify your local police station of your concerns. Let them know the history and your concern of being in isolation due to coronavirus. It may be useful to speak with the Domestic Violence officer. 5. Exit Plan In case you have to flee, create an exit plan ahead of time with someone who could support this need. Is there a trusted friend/relative whom you can stay with if needed? 6. Supplies, Food & Medication Check your supplies and food. If you need food and do not have the money, check your local pantry, temple/church/mosque/etc., or other community organizations. Remember to keep your medication in the safest, easily accessible location in case of emergency. 7. Emergency Bag Pack an emergency bag with an extra set of keys, clothes for you and your children, pay as you go cell phone, medications, copies of important documents, etc. 8. Important Documents Make copies or take pictures of your important documents for yourself and send them to a trusted friend or relative. Important documents may include IDs, social security cards, immigration documents, birth certificates, health insurance information, and Orders of Protection. As mentioned earlier, be mindful of sending anything via phone or computer. Please use whatever method is safest for you. 9. Seeking Social Support With social distancing and quarantining, survivors can feel even more isolated, and abusers may use further isolation as a power and control tactic. Identify trusted friends, relatives or even online support groups where you can still connect virtually. If you have a friend who may be experiencing abuse, be sure to reach out to them even more during this time. 10. Creating a “Peaceful Space” Many survivors are feeling forced to spend more time with an abuser during the coronavirus outbreak because they may feel unsafe leaving the home, as well as unsafe staying in the home. If you cannot leave your home, try to create a “peaceful space” for yourself in your home (if that is safe for you). You can draw pictures of a more peaceful place and put them on a wall to help you take an emotional break to visualize a more peaceful place. This is also an activity you can do with your children. You can also write positive affirmations and put them up on the wall to remind yourself of your worth. 11. Holding onto Your Plan Consider keeping a list of your safety plan in your phone or wherever might be safe for you. Please consider what is safest for you. If you choose to write your plan somewhere, consider listing only keywords that help you remember the plan, but that would not be clear to your abuser. If this is not safe, try to memorize your plan, focusing on memorizing at least one key emergency number on your list of resources. via

In Case of Emergency

9-1-1: In case of an emergency at any time, please call 911. Emergency SOS on iPhone: Here is a link to a shortcut to using Emergency SOS to quickly and easily call for help and alert your emergency contacts if you have an iPhone: How to Use Emergency SOS on your iPhone Emergency Location Sharing on Androids and iPhones: Here is a link for how to set up emergency location sharing on your phone, in case you want to share your location with a trusted friend or relative in case of emergency: How to Use Emergency Location Sharing

Hotlines and Individual Support

MSH 24/7 Crisis Line Available 24/7 to provide support and an individualized safety plan for you! Call us 1-800-273-HOPE or 843-744-3242 to get connected with an advocate or therapist today! National Domestic Violence Hotline The National Domestic Violence Hotline is still accessible 24/7. Please call them at 1-800-799-7233. They also have a chat feature accesbile at National Human Trafficking Hotline The National Human Trafficking Hotline is still accessible 24/7. Please call them at 1-888-373-7888 or text them at 233-733 Suicide Hotline The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is still accessible 24/7. Please call them at 1-800-273-8255 Warmlines - Need someone to talk to?

Support For Families

Talking To Children About Coronavirus Helping Children Cope With Emergencies Coping After A Disaster - An activity book for children ages 3-10. Emergency Benefits for SNAP Households United Way Worldwide, in partnership with Nickelodeon and National Campaign for Grade Level Reading, is excited to provide access to NOGGIN cares for 90 days at no cost! Click here to access.

Local Healthcare and Essential Needs

COVID-19 Per DHEC, if an individual does not have a primary care physician, MUSC Health is providing free telehealth screening to all South Carolinians. Anyone experiencing symptoms can visit and use the promo code COVID19 and be screened without having to leave your home. MUSC Health virtual urgent care is a secure, virtual care option that will help with infection prevention and control, while also allowing patients to receive care without exposing themselves or others to further sickness in the hospital setting. To learn more visit: Please feel free to share this important information with family, neighbors, and friends who may be experiencing symptoms. Need immediate help? Several SC health systems are offering telehealth options to the public. These options are available to anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms in South Carolina. In order to access the free consult, use the promo code – COVID19.

  • Find free food locally via this interactive map!
  • Charleston Local Resource Guide for COVID-19 - Charleston Moms
  • Charleston United Covid Response - Facebook Group: This social media group is a volunteer community response team, whose purpose is to help manage requests for assistance and to share local resources that address essential needs during this COVID crisis.