Maricopa County commits $15M to address domestic violence

Sep 28, 2021, 1:04 PM | Updated: 1:05 pm

(Pixabay Photo)...

(Pixabay Photo)

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX – Maricopa County on Tuesday announced an “unprecedented” $15 million investment of federal COVID relief funding to address domestic violence in metro Phoenix.

The county is using part of its more than $400 million in American Rescue Act money to partner with the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (ACESDV) in an effort to increase access to support services for victims of domestic violence.

“We identified this as a growing and urgent need in our community and acted quickly to address it using federal recovery funds,” Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers said in a press release.

“This $15 million investment is unprecedented in county history, and I’m hopeful that it provides domestic violence survivors with the support systems they need to safely get out of toxic environments.”

According to ACESDV, 102 Arizonans died last year as a result of domestic violence, with 64% of the deaths in Maricopa County. The stress of the pandemic has been cited as a factor in a rise in domestic violence incidents.

With COVID-19 distancing protocols in place, domestic violence shelters have been operating at capacity, according to the release. The new funding will help expand services into the community beyond the shelter-based model.

“Domestic and sexual violence service providers have been steadfast in providing continuous and innovative services throughout the pandemic, and these funds are essential to ensure those critical services continue,” Jenna Panas, CEO of ACESDV, said in the release.

ACESDV operates a sexual and domestic violence help line at 602-279-2980 and 800-782-6400, or 520-720-3383 for text messaging, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours until 7 p.m. Tuesdays. A 24-hour national domestic violence hotline can be reached at 800-799-SAFE (7233).

To bring more attention to the issue, the Maricopa County Administration Building on Jefferson Street and Third Avenue in downtown Phoenix will be lit purple throughout October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Maricopa County received $435 million via the American Rescue Act earlier this year. The state’s largest county recently unveiled an online dashboard that tracks how it is using the funds.

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Maricopa County commits $15M to address domestic violence