The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has approved a $15 million investment in domestic violence support services for Maricopa County residents.
The funding is part of a larger effort by Maricopa County to use federal funds from the America Rescue Plan Act to help people and families regain stability and recover from the effects of the pandemic.
Services and programs will be made available through a partnership with the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, according to a press release.
“We identified this as a growing and urgent need in our community and acted quickly to address it using federal recovery funds,” said Board Chairman Jack Sellers, District 1, in the 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 the ACESDV, 102 people died in Arizona last year as a result of domestic violence. Of those deaths, 64% occurred in Maricopa County, the release said.
“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,” said Jenna Panas, CEO of ACESDV, in the release.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, evidence shows an increase in reports of domestic violence as added stress brought on by effects of the pandemic has exacerbated violence and kept many people from support systems such as family, co-workers and healthcare providers, the release said.
“The impacts of domestic violence in our community are devastating not only for victims but for their entire family,” said Jacqueline Edwards, human services deputy director, in the release.
“There is no greater investment than to support this system, agencies, and frontline staff who ensure the safety and assistance that allows survivors to heal and reclaim their lives.”
The county’s investment, and partnership of the ACESDV, enables victims of domestic violence to now access support services and programs in the community, expand beyond the existing model of bringing people into shelters to access services.
This comes at a crucial time when shelters are operating at maximum capacity and with enhanced distancing protocols in place due to COVID-19.
The investment of federal funds that expands access to support services is part of the supervisors’ commitment to addressing the needs caused by domestic violence in the community, noted the release.
“I have been a passionate advocate for domestic violence awareness for years, and I’m just so proud that we’re able to put our money where our mouth is and devote significant resources to helping individuals and families in this difficult situation,” said Supervisor Steve Gallardo, District 5, in the release.
The County Administration Building, at 301 W. Jefferson Street in Phoenix, will be lit purple throughout October to raise awareness about the issue.
Maricopa County residents and businesses are encouraged to join the county in raising awareness by lighting their porches or front windows purple throughout the month to remember victims and show support for domestic violence survivors.
Residents can also show support by wearing purple on Thursday, Oct. 21, and posting to social media using the hashtag #ColorTheCounty to demonstrate their commitment to ending domestic violence, the release added.
For more information seeking or providing support, visit the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence site at ACESDV.org and follow Maricopa County social media accounts listed at maricopa.gov/Social.