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Audit of National Domestic Violence Hotline and Shelter-in-Place Orders During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic poses special challenges for victims of domestic violence. Because of economic and other uncertainties surrounding the pandemic and the shelter-in-place orders in effect for most States, abusers may exert further power and control over their partners. Victims in these States are more socially isolated and have fewer opportunities to connect with others who may be able to assist them. Isolated victims may be less likely to use crisis hotlines because their abusers are close by, and victims may face repercussions if they reach out for help. For fiscal year 2020, the Administration for Children and Families allocated $12 million for the National Domestic Violence Hotline (the Hotline). The Hotline operates a 24-hour, national, toll-free, and confidential telephone hotline for victims of domestic violence. It maintains a comprehensive resource database on services for these victims and is the only 24/7 center in the Nation that has access to service providers and shelters across the United States. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act provided additional funding of $2 million for the Hotline, including hotline services provided remotely. Our objectives are to identify: (1) trends with the Hotline data that occurred during nationwide shelter-in-place orders and (2) whether the Hotline faced challenges that occurred during States' shelter-in-place orders and actions it has taken to address these challenges while continuing to support those affected by domestic violence.

Announced or Revised Agency Title Component Report Number(s) Expected Issue Date (FY)
October 2020 Administration for Children and Families Audit of National Domestic Violence Hotline and Shelter-in-Place Orders During the COVID-19 Pandemic Office of Audit Services W-00-20-20028 2021