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Illinois expands domestic violence services during COVID-19 pandemic

SPRINGFIELD (WREX) — An increase risk for domestic violence during Gov. Pritzker's stay at home order prompts the state to expand services for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors.

The Illinois Department of Human Services announced it will launch a $1.2 million plan to increase the capacity of its current statewide network of services for survivors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While most Illinoisans are adhering to the Stay at Home order, not everyone has a safe home to go to. If you are experiencing domestic violence or live in fear of it, I know how much scarier or complicated the message of ‘Stay Home’ might sound. If that’s the case for you, please know that you can call our Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-877-863-6338 for help,” said Governor JB Pritzker.

“During times of crisis, there may be an increase in domestic and sexual violence, while barriers to services are compounded,” said IDHS Secretary Grace B. Hou. “The health and safety of survivors during COVID-19 is of the utmost importance to IDHS and Gov. Pritzker, and today’s actions will ensure that access to these critical services continues.”

The plan expands the role of the Domestic Violence Helpline by creating a one-stop access point for shelter needs. Survivors may call the Helpline directly at 1-877-TO END DV (1-877-863-6338 voice or 1-877-863-6339 TTY) and be connected to shelter through existing Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention (DVPI) shelter services or to emergency shelter through available hotels and motels. Survivors also may contact their local domestic violence programs for shelter assistance.

IDHS is also working with the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence to establish an emergency fund to support local providers with assistance needs related to COVID-19.

In addition, DVPI providers will receive a three-month advance of their current grant to support continuations of services and respond to the needs of domestic violence survivors, such as hotels, emergency supplies, transportation, food, technology supports and other related services.

IDHS will provide the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault with a grant advance to enhance the capacity of local rape crisis centers statewide to aid sexual assault survivors. The agency also will advance grant funds to Partner Abuse Intervention Program grantees for programs costs related to COVID-19. More information about COVID-19 is available at www.CoronaVirus.Illinois.Gov.

Domestic Violence

Breane Lyga

Breane Lyga is the content manager at 13 WREX. She joined the team in 2015 as the 5, 6 and 10PM news producer after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She was 13 WREX’s assignment editor from 2017 to 2018.

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