Thu, 09 Dec 2021

CONCORD, N.H. -- Advocates for ending domestic violence urged Congress to renew the Violence Against Women Act and other federal legislation dedicated to supporting survivors.

It has been two years since the Act expired, and the House passed its latest bipartisan reauthorization bill in March. The Senate held a hearing on its version last week.

Lyn Schollett, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, said the legislation is key to making sure support and resources are available to Granite Staters.

"The Violence Against Women Act allocates really important funds for crisis-center services," Schollett explained. "And it also puts in place legal protections for victims in, say, in the court system or in prison and in other locations."

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the New Hampshire congressional delegation announced a little more than $2 million in federal grants coming to the state.

Schollett noted federal funding supports many services, from facilitating support groups to having an advocate to accompany people to court or engaging in outreach to let Granite Staters know help is available.

The Coalition has seen an increase in calls to the domestic-violence hotline during the pandemic.

Schollett pointed out New Hampshire has 12 community-based crisis centers throughout the state that respond around the clock, and they serve roughly 15,000 people a year.

"And that could be an individual who is currently being battered or harmed by someone in their household. It could be an adult who lived in a household that had domestic violence as a child," Schollett outlined. "Help is available in every community throughout the state 24 hours a day."

She added the free and confidential domestic- and sexual-violence helpline can be found at 866-644-3574.

New Hampshire recently launched a Text to 911 service, which proponents say can be a safer option for some people, including those who may be facing intimate-partner violence.

Source: New Hampshire News Connection

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