Congressman McCaul proposes provisions for domestic violence victims during COVID-19
I sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence and the Coronavirus Task Force to request victims of domestic violence be given a safe place to reside during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Many Americans are fortunate enough to have a safe place to stay as they brace for what will be the most severe weeks of coronavirus; however, there are some whose home is not a place of refuge.
According to the CDC, nearly 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men have experienced some sort of intimate partner violence. Further, Houston police have reported nearly 300 more domestic violence calls in the month of March than in February.
During a time where the American public is advised to stay at home or shelter-in-place, there are a group of individuals whose homes are anything but a place of refuge. With many major cities witnessing domestic violence calls on the rise, it is of upmost importance to house victims of domestic violence as our nation weathers the coronavirus outbreak. Typically, we have seen increases in domestic violence during major disasters, as we did during Hurricane Harvey, and I want to be sure we can provide these victims an escape from the nightmares they may be experiencing at home.
In the letter, I highlight the CARES Act, which provides $45 million for the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program (FVPSA), including emergency shelter and supportive services to domestic violence victims, $2 million for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and a moratorium on evictions covered under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
Additionally, I suggest that the task force consider utilizing available resources to shelter domestic violence victims in vacant hotel rooms. The hospitality industry is seeing record high vacancy rates and could provide a safe space to those who need it most during this uncertain time.