The Hotline Welcomes the Passage of the HEROES Act in the House, Urges Senate to Follow Suit
Critical funding for survivors of domestic violence was included in the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act which passed the U.S. House of Representatives late last week, the fifth piece of federal legislation to address emergency relief related to COVID-19. The National Domestic Violence Hotline (“The Hotline”) welcomes the House’s passage of The HEROES Act, which includes $50 million to Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) funded programs that provide emergency housing and shelter to domestic violence survivors across the country. The bill also includes $2 million for The Hotline to ensure critical, ongoing services to survivors that reach out for support, resources, and safety planning during this time of heightened risk due to the COVID-19 health crisis.
“As stay-at-home orders lift and the long-term effects of the pandemic are felt, we expect to see a sustained increase in survivors needing support,” said Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of The Hotline. “This funding will ensure that when survivors contact us, our advocates will be there to provide validation, resources and safety planning to enable them to make decisions for a safer future. We are glad to see the House recognize this real and urgent need and ask the Senate to deliver on this support.”
At this time, The Hotline is beginning to see an increase in contact volume as stay-at-home orders are scaled back. Incoming contact volume in April was 15% higher compared to April of 2019. The Hotline also received emergency funding in the CARES Act, the fourth COVID19 related-emergency package, and is thankful for additional funds the HEROES Act would provide in order to meet the increasing needs of survivors reaching out for support. The CARES Act funding also included an allocation for StrongHearts Native Helpline. In addition to this, The Hotline will also be supporting the Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services (ADWAS). through its CARES Act allocation.
The HEROES Act builds upon the CARES Act and includes critical provisions in support of survivors of sexual and domestic violence as well as the programs that serve them, including but not limited to:
- $50 million for FVPSA funded programs,
- $2 million for The Hotline,
- $200 billion for essential workers including sexual and domestic violence advocates to access hazard pay,
- $100 million to VAWA grant programs,
- And key provisions for immigrant survivors such as expanding access to stimulus checks for non-citizen taxpayers and temporarily extending work authorizations and immigration status.
The Hotline commends Congress for its actions and continues to ask for more adequate provisions for survivors who are members of under-served, culturally specific, immigrant, and Native communities. We also continue to urge Congress to address the needs of sexual violence survivors who are in dire need of increased funding and support.