A call to action from the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Right now, survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault are at great risk.
Act now to urge Congress to address the urgent and emerging needs of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors and the programs that serve them during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and resulting disruptions.
The House of Representatives is finalizing its phase four COVID-19 response package. It is critical that this package meets the needs of victims, survivors, and everyday people. We have circulated a letter to Members of Congress, outlining steps they can take to support survivors and advocates — now we need YOUR help. Your Members of Congress need to hear from you NOW, while negotiations for the phase four package are underway. Your Senators and Representative both need to hear from you, but if you can only contact one person, right now, the priority is the House of Representatives.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Call your Members of Congress or contact them on social media, and tell them that the phase four package must contain provisions to directly address the needs of survivors and the people who serve them. Tell them that the package must:
- Include $100 million in additional funding for the Sexual Assault Services Program (For more information on the needs of rape crisis centers and sexual assault survivors click here.)
- Include emergency VAWA funding to states for victim services with funding for Tribes and culturally specific-services;
- Fund the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act;
- Include funding for grants for outreach to underserved communities;
- Address the housing needs of survivors;
- Meet the economic needs of survivors;
- Address the long term impact on survivors by redirecting funds from deferred and non-prosecution agreements from the General Treasury to the Crime Victims Fund;
- Temporarily waive match requirements for federal grants; and
- Ensure immigrants have access to health, safety, and stability, including access to testing and treatment, and restricting immigration enforcement. For more information on the needs of immigrant survivors click here.
You can find your Senators and their contact information HERE and your Representative and their contact information HERE. You can find Members’ social media handles HERE. If you have contacts in Congressional offices, email is also an effective way to get in touch with staff who are working remotely.
“Hello. My name is [your name], and I am a constituent [calling/emailing] from [your location and, if applicable, your program]. COVID-19 disproportionately impacts victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and Congress must act to support them and address their needs. This includes providing more funding for programs and ensuring survivors have access to services, housing, and economic stability; waiving grant match requirements; ensuring immigrants have access to health, safety, and stability; and addressing the long term impacts of this crisis on survivors by addressing dwindling deposits into the Crime Victims Fund. We’re counting on you to protect victims and survivors.”
If you are emailing or communicating on social media, please include a link to the letter mentioned above.
Sample social media posts:
.@Handle, #COVID19 disproportionately harms survivors of Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault. Support them by increasing funding, waiving match, supporting ALL communities & addressing VOCA shortfalls! More at https://tinyurl.com/ybkmnots.
.@Handle, support Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault survivors and programs by increasing resources for FVPSA/VAWA/housing, waiving match, fixing the Crime Victims Fund, and supporting ALL communities! #COVID4More at https://tinyurl.com/ybkmnots.