Mayor Sylvester Turner and Council Member Abbie Kamin announced a city-wide domestic violence awareness initiative to reach vulnerable populations and provide resources for victims. Local law enforcement and the Houston Area Women’s Center are tracking a rise in domestic violence incidents linked to the crisis.
HPD saw an increase of 8.72% percent in domestic violence calls for service in March compared to February 2020. The Houston Area Women’s Center (HAWC) and the Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (HCDVCC) are partnering with the City so survivors know service providers are open, ready to help and are taking COVID-19 precautions.
The Mayor also announced a $50,000 grant from Uber to provide ride services to victims of human trafficking and domestic violence who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19’s stay at home order. Uber’s grant expands Mayor Turner’s existing human trafficking COVID-19 response and will assist in launching the city’s new domestic violence response in light of increased reports.
“We cannot tolerate victims suffering in silence while home at the hands of their domestic abusers,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “I want to thank Uber for stepping forward and providing $50,000 in rides to ensure that they have a safe way to move around. I also want to thank HAWC and the HCDVCC who have worked tirelessly during this crisis.”
The city’s and coalition partners’ efforts include:
- Rolling out a social media campaign designed by HAWC and the HCDVCC featuring safety tips, hotline numbers, and videos by Houston Dash players.
- HAWC and HCDVCC launching a new website, www.nocovidabuse.org, which contains vital information and resources.
- Leveraging OEM’s messaging delivery systems to ensure people know the DV service providers are open and are able to help.
- Partnering with the Houston Food Bank to place DV resource flyers in distributed boxes and bags.
- HEB will assist with printing flyers for these distributions.
- Providing $50,000 in Uber rides for human trafficking and domestic violence victims as needed.
- The city is also helping to address the need for short-term hotel lodging for victims since shelters have to reduce their populations to allow for social distancing.
“We may be apart, but victims of domestic violence are not alone. I am grateful to all of our community partners, and our law enforcement agencies, for working together with us to reach as many people as possible,” said Councilmember Abbie Kamin. “We also call on all residents to be aware, to be vigilant, and to help others in need by sharing this information. We will continue to do everything we can to make sure Houstonians are safe.”
“We want to build on our existing presence in Houston and do our small part to help during this challenging time,” said Uber’s Trevor Theunissen, Director Public Affairs. “This is part of our global commitment to provide 10 million free rides and food deliveries to healthcare workers, seniors, and people in need. We’re grateful for Mayor Turner’s leadership on this issue and will continue to work with more organizations to move whatever matters.”
If you are a victim of domestic violence, help is available at (713) 528-2121. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
For more information on how Uber is committed to helping around the world, visit their blog: https://www.uber.com/us/en/coronavirus/.
For more information about the city’s DV response, contact Minal Patel Davis, Special Advisor to the Mayor on Human Trafficking, Office: 832-393-0977, Cell: 832-596-9965, or [email protected].