Press Releases

Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine joined a bipartisan group of more than 30 colleagues to request that any future legislation to address COVID-19 include support for victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. The Senators expressed concern that service providers are reporting that abusers are using COVID-19 to isolate their victims, withhold financial resources, and refuse medical aid; rape crisis centers are seeing increased need for services; and many local law enforcement agencies are receiving an increased number of domestic violence-related calls.

“We appreciate that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided $45 million for domestic violence services funded through the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act and $2 million for the National Domestic Violence Hotline,” the Senators wrote. “While this funding provides critical resources, the legislation did not include any additional support for sexual assault or domestic violence-related programs funded through the Department of Justice. These programs deliver essential support that is particularly needed at this time, including support for sexual assault service providers, law enforcement, and transitional housing programs, as well as for organizations that address the needs of communities of color and underserved populations.”

The letter, led by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Bob Casey (D-PA), was also signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ),  Sherrod Brown (D-NJ), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NM), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Angus King (I-ME), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The letter is supported by the following groups: Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center; Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence; Break the Cycle; California Coalition Against Sexual Assault; Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities; Futures Without Violence; Jewish Women International; Legal Momentum; National Alliance to End Sexual Violence; National Coalition Against Domestic Violence; National Council of Jewish Women; National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges; National Domestic Violence Hotline; National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center; National Network to End Domestic Violence; National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault; National Resource Center on Domestic Violence; StrongHearts Native Helpline; Tahirih Justice Center; Ujima, Inc.: The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community; YWCA USA.