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Domestic violence hotline: Immigration-linked calls increase

NEW YORK (AP) — The nation’s most prominent domestic violence hotline says there has been a sharp increase in calls from abuse victims struggling with issues related to their immigration status.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline, established by Congress in 1996 and partly reliant on federal funding, says in its newly released annual report that it responded to 323,660 phone calls, texts and online contacts in 2016. More than 7,000 of the calls evoked immigration-related issues — up nearly 30 percent from 2015.

Katie Ray-Jones, the hotline’s CEO, said many of the callers were not U.S. citizens and said their abusers warned that they and their families would be deported if the abuse was reported to the police. In some cases, she said, the abusers had threatened to call federal immigration authorities.

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