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Senator Melinda BushGRAYSLAKE – While the country deals with the coronavirus pandemic and urges all non-essential workers to remain home, staying home puts survivors of domestic and sexual violence in increased danger. State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) applauded the Pritzker administration’s expansion of programs to support these survivors.

“The best protection we currently have against COVID-19 is to stay home, if we can, and practice social distancing,” Bush said. “But for survivors of domestic or sexual abuse, that’s not always safe.” 

The Illinois Department of Human Services recently launched a $1.2 million plan to support its statewide network of services for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. IDHS is working with the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence to establish an emergency fund to support local providers with needs related to COVID-19. IDHS will also provide a grant advance to enhance the capacity of local rape crisis centers.

“The Stay at Home Order is meant to keep Illinoisans safe, but if you are experiencing or live in fear of domestic violence, please call the Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline for help,” Bush said. “Even during a global pandemic, we have a responsibility for the health, safety, and access to vital services for survivors.”

The new initiatives expand the role of the Domestic Violence Helpline by creating a one-stop access point. Survivors can call the Helpline at 1-877-TO END DV (1-877-863-6338 or 1-877-863-6339) and be connected to shelters through existing Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention (DVPI) shelter services or through available hotels and motels. 

Survivors of sexual assault and abuse can identify their local rape crisis center at the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s website: www.icasa.org.

More info about COVID-19 can be found at https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/.

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