The Biden administration announced on Monday it is allocating $200 million from the American Rescue Plan to support services for survivors of domestic violence following a rise in cases during pandemic lockdowns.
“As we all know, the pandemic and its economic impact significantly increased the risks of abuse for victims of domestic violence and made it much harder for them to seek safety and support,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at a White House briefing.
The money, awarded by the US Department of Health and Human Services, will provide support through the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act program, which is the primary federal funding stream dedicated to supporting emergency shelter and other related assistance for victims of domestic violence and their children.
It will also provide 296 supplemental grant awards to fund domestic violence services in every state and territory, and will provide supplementary funding for tribes, state domestic violence coalitions, national resource centers, specialized services for abused parents, children grantees and national domestic violence hotlines.
The announcement comes as domestic violence incidents have risen in the United States and around the world following lockdowns that were put in place to stop the spread of Covid-19. All types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, has intensified amid the pandemic, according to the United Nations, which refers to the rise as the “Shadow Pandemic.”
In the United States, domestic violence incidents rose by about 8.1% during pandemic lockdowns, according to an analysis by the National Commission on Covid-19 and Criminal Justice. The authors of the study theorized that economic issues exacerbated factors associated with domestic violence, including unemployment, financial insecurity and stress from child care and homeschooling.
Data on domestic violence is particularly difficult to study because many victims do not report the crimes to police or their pleas are not taken seriously. The pandemic stay-at-home orders have further isolated victims from other people who may otherwise have seen signs of abuse or violence.
Resources for victims of domestic violence
National Domestic Violence Hotline Call 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
Available 24/7. Can connect callers with local resources and immediate support. Also available through online chat tool.
National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-4673
Provided by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). Available 24/7. Also available through online chat tool.
Crisis Text Line Text HOME to 741741
Available 24/7 for victims of abuse and any other type of crisis.
Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-422-4453
Available 24/7 in 170 different languages.
Office on Women’s Health Helpline 1-800-994-9662
A resource provided by the US Department of Health & Human Services.
CNN’s Eric Levenson contributed to this report.