Local

Proposal in Congress increases access and funding for domestic violence survivor programs

WASHINGTON D.C. — On an average day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls made to domestic violence hotlines around the country, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Now a proposal in Congress aims to invest more federal funding for programs that help domestic violence survivors.

The bill dubbed The Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act of 2023 is a bipartisan measure introduced in the Senate by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

“Family violence, domestic violence, and dating violence are a public health crisis in this country,” said Sen. Casey.

“This bill would work to increase access to services like crisis counseling, emergency shelters, and support prevention efforts,” said Sen. Murkowski.

It would increase funding levels to $270 million to expand services for survivors and to improve access to those services.

“It’s nearly impossible to be walking about the world and not know someone who is a survivor of domestic violence,” said Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “We know that the complexities that exist can be deep, can take years to heal and make it really difficult for someone to exit that relationship, which is why connecting with an advocate, connecting to services, is so critically important for anyone who is in a violent relationship and looking for the ability to leave the relationship.”

Ray-Jones said it’s critical for lawmakers to pass the bill to ensure these essential resources don’t run out of funding.

“Often times survivors are looking for different things,” said Ray-Jones. “It might be shelter. It might be transitional housing. Counseling. Legal services.”

The bill also creates a new grant program to help domestic violence survivors in underserved communities.

That includes people living in rural areas and Tribal communities, people with disabilities and older adults.

Download the FREE WPXI News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Channel 11 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch WPXI NOW