Since 1981, October has been recognized as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month to bring attention to lifesaving resources for family violence survivors. At HHS, the Family Violence Program (FVP) provides services at eight nonresidential centers and 70 shelters throughout Texas. The FVP aims to help survivors be safe and become more self-sufficient by providing access to community resources, legal advocates and a variety of mental health services, including peer-to-peer counseling.
This year the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected family violence centers and survivors across the state. In response to the pandemic, the FVP received and distributed more than $3 million as part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. These funds assist family violence centers in continuing to provide critical services for survivors, while also preventing, preparing for and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While family violence centers have been greatly impacted by COVID-19, the centers have been incredibly responsive to adapting service delivery to ensure people still get help during this challenging time,” FVP Specialist Cody Rothschild said. “Family violence centers quickly pivoted to providing virtual services, utilizing different platforms that clients and staff could access.”
Telephone and telehealth services increased more than 600 percent between March and June this year when compared to the same months in 2019. CARES Act funding was critical in helping centers afford the technologies to offer virtual counseling, legal advocacy, crisis intervention and safety planning.
While some family violence services may look a little different as they’re adapted for social distancing measures, centers continue to work strategically to ensure survivors across Texas have continued access to shelter and other resources.
If you or somebody you know is experiencing domestic violence, remember that family violence centers remain open and available to help. You can visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline webpage or call 800-799-7233 (800-787-3224 for TTY) at any time to find a local center.
To learn more, visit the HHS Family Violence Program webpage.