State Rep. Kara Hope (D-Holt) and state Sen. Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit), co-chairs of the Progressive Women’s Caucus Gender Violence Task Force, introduced resolutions to their respective chambers urging Congress to address the unique needs of domestic violence victims and survivors in the next phase of federal stimulus funding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The resolutions recognize the uptick in reports of domestic violence across the state, nation and world over the same time periods in recent years.
“As we continue to adapt and respond to the many challenges posed by this pandemic, staying home does not ensure the same level of safety for everyone,” said Hope. “For victims and survivors of domestic violence, this crisis has served to both create and compound risks they face. We must use every tool at our disposal, at all levels of government, to comprehensively meet these needs moving forward.”
While necessary measures have been taken to protect the health and safety of residents in Michigan and across the nation from COVID-19, the increased confinement, financial stressors and uncertainty stemming from the ongoing pandemic are being exploited by perpetrators as a new or heightened tactic of abuse.
“There is absolutely no excuse for domestic violence,” said Santana. “Survivors are forced to grapple with the impacts of COVID-19 to their households while also coping with dangerous situations caused by their abuser simultaneously. That’s why it’s imperative we roll up our sleeves and get to work addressing these urgent, unique needs survivors are facing during these difficult times.”
Confidential support for domestic violence survivors is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling (800) 799-SAFE, texting LOVEIS to 22522 or visiting their website at thehotline.org, as well as the Michigan Sexual Assault VOICES4 Hotline, available by phone, text and chat at 855-VOICES4.