It’s harder to stay safe at home for domestic violence victims – what’s being done?

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nexstar) — The National Network to End Domestic Violence says the number of calls to its Domestic Violence Hotline has increased as Americans find themselves stuck at home.

Lawmakers included some help for domestic violence victims in the latest coronavirus emergency relief package, but advocates say it’s nowhere near enough.

“An abuser may take advantage of an already stressful situation to gain more control,” says Deborah Vagins, president of the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn says to relieve some of that stress, the latest coronavirus relief bill included $45 million dollars for emergency housing and shelter of domestic violence victims.

The CARES Act also provides $2 million dollars for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which Vagins says is a lifeline for many victims stuck at home.

But New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says more should be done to meet the increasing need.

“We need more shelters in place, we need more food and clothing and housing resources made available,” says Gillibrand. “We need them working at their absolute height so that we can meet the needs of the increase.”

Vagins is asking congress for more than $300 million in the next emergency relief bill – to house and hold vulnerable survivors.

She says for some, this could be a matter of life and death.

If you are experiencing domestic violence and need help, you can call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233 or visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline site for resources and live chat.

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