CA announces more support available for domestic violence victims amid pandemic

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New state initiatives, including additional funding and partnerships, will offer more support to victims of domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic in California.

The program was announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom and his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, on Friday and includes an allocation of $5.3 million in state funding and an additional $3 million in private sector funding. The program is coupled with an executive order Newsom issued May 19, which eases financial burdens on domestic violence centers.

“We must continue to look at the impacts of COVID-19 through a gendered lens, including the tragic increase in domestic violence incidents since the crisis began,” Siebel Newsom said in a press release. “We must continue to do more to end violence against women, and domestic violence more broadly.”

According to the press release, crisis hotlines, women’s shelters and public safety officers across the state are reporting higher rates of domestic violence since stay-at-home orders were issued, and California is in the top percentile of coronavirus-related calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline in the United States.

As a part of the initiative to offer more support to those in situations of domestic violence, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services is enabling a “text-to-911” capability, allowing about 75% of the state to be able to actively send texts to 911. The ability of 911 dispatchers to text back is also being developed at all California public safety answering points.

“Text 911 is a critical tool that will help keep all Californians safe, including victims of domestic violence,” Newsom said in the press release. “These initiatives and additional funding will provide much-needed support to those whose homes are not the safe place they should be.”

California has also developed partnerships with nonprofit organizations and corporations, including Airbnb and Uber, to provide free accommodation and transportation to victims of domestic violence.

Anyone experiencing domestic violence is encouraged to call the state’s 24-hour hotline at 800-799-7233 or the national hotline at 800-799-SAFE.

Check back for updates.

Kate Finman is the executive news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @KateFinman_DC.