Casey co-leads effort to help victims of domestic violence

From staff reports

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., is co-leading a bipartisan letter to Senate leadership and appropriators requesting additional funding and provisions to support victims of family violence, domestic violence and dating violence to be included in a fourth COVID-19 legislative package.

Also leading the effort are Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline has reported victims as saying their abusers are taking advantage of social distancing to further isolate the victims from friends and family, with some abusers withholding financial resources or medical aid, according to a news release from Casey’s office.

The letter, in part, says although staying at home is the “best way” to slow the virus’s spread, “home is not a safe place for people who experience domestic violence. As a result, communities around the country are reporting increased demands on victim service providers, which are facing new difficulties and complexities in assisting survivors.”

The senators request the fourth supplemental package addressing the COVID-19 pandemic include:

– Funding for shelters and supports; resource centers and technical assistance to support victims of domestic violence, including an additional $100 million for programs funded by the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA).

– Funding to coordinate language-accessible public outreach to hard-to-reach populations, including $100 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

– Set aside assistance for tribes and tribal organizations.

– Robust increases in emergency supplemental funding under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) to prevent child abuse and neglect.

– Provisions to waive the matching requirements under FVPSA and under Title II of CAPTA so workers on the ground can swiftly respond to the needs of survivors during this public health crisis.

FVPSA serves as the primary federal funding source for supportive services for victims of domestic violence and their children, and funds the Domestic Violence Hotline, according to the news release.