HHS Announces the release of $800 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds to Support Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Survivors and their Children

October 25, 2021

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), is awarding a total of $797.5 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to support survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and their children. The funds will cover COVD-19 testing, vaccines, mobile health units, and other support for domestic violence services programs, as well as increase support for sexual assault service providers and culturally specific services. Combined with grants from May, the Biden-Harris Administration has invested nearly $1 billion of ARP funds in Family Violence Prevention and Services Programs this year. These historic investments build on President Biden’s commitment throughout his public service as a champion of efforts to end domestic violence, including his authorship of the Violence Against Women Act.

“We must do everything in our power to prevent and combat sexual violence and domestic violence. Today’s historic investment will usher in new partnerships and tools to support the needs of survivors and their children,” said Xavier Becerra, HHS Secretary.

Today, the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) program is awarding $550 million to grantees to support COVID-19 testing, vaccines, and mobile health units and address other needs resulting from the COVID-19 public health emergency for millions of domestic violence survivors nationwide. These funds will reduce the barriers to health services that help mitigate the spread of the virus for domestic violence survivors, including in rural communities and in the geographically isolated Alaskan Native villages, and will promote the health and well-being of adults and children exposed to domestic violence. This historic investment will provide 296 supplemental grant awards that will reach states, territories, and tribes. This funding will reach thousands of programs across the country — including 1,500 local domestic violence shelters and 252 tribal domestic violence programs.

“Everyone deserves safe access to testing and vaccines; mobile health units strengthen the services and supports available to survivors,” said JooYeun Chang, ACF Acting Assistant Secretary. “ACF is committed to working with communities to eliminate barriers to health services that domestic and sexual violence survivors and their children may face.”

In the next week, HHS will also award $198 million in ARP supplemental funding to help rape crisis centers and sexual assault programs continue adapting to meet the emergency needs of sexual assault survivors. This supplemental funding may also be used to expand existing virtual, remote, and emergency services for survivors. These funds will ensure the continuity of rape crisis services all across the country and strengthen the public health response to sexual violence in local communities.

HHS will also award $49.5 million in ARP supplemental funding to support community-based organizations who are providing culturally-specific activities and support for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence to address emergent needs resulting from the COVID-19 public health emergency. This historic investment in ARP funding for survivors from culturally-specific communities will create a multi-year funding source for underserved communities that experience a disproportionate prevalence of domestic violence, sexual violence, and health disparities, as well as additional barriers to accessing services.

These ARP supplemental grant awards provide states, tribes, domestic violence programs, sexual violence programs, and culturally specific programs with flexibility in how they use the funding to support survivors and their children throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“Partnerships with local health departments, medical clinics, and health associations will strengthen the knowledge and expertise available to millions of domestic violence survivors and sexual assault survivors seeking services and crisis support across the country,” said FYSB Acting Associate Commissioner Debbie Powell.

Previously, on May 24, 2021, HHS awarded $200 million in ARP funds to support FVPSA program grantees for immediate crisis intervention and safety planning services available to victims of domestic violence nationwide; reduce the prevalence of domestic violence in geographically isolated Alaskan Native villages; and promote resiliency and healing for children exposed to domestic violence. The funding provided 296 supplemental grant awards that reached states/territories, tribes, state domestic violence coalitions, national resource centers, Specialized Services for Abused Parents and Children grantees, and national hotlines.

Since 1984, the FVPSA program has been an integral part of our nation’s public health response to domestic violence, and it is the only dedicated federal funding stream for shelters and supportive services for victims of domestic violence and their children. The program has provided funding, oversight, training, technical assistance, and guidance to emergency shelters, crisis hotlines, prevention programs, and specialized resource centers — reaching a wide-range of federal, state, local, and tribal partners across the U.S. By addressing domestic violence and sexual violence as significant public health epidemics, FVPSA’s funding is broadening the availability of community-based services and supports focused on safety planning and healing for individuals and families surviving violence, trauma, and abuse. Each year, FVPSA-funded state and tribal programs serve more than 1.3 million victims and their dependents and respond to 2.7 million crisis calls. With these supplemental funds, FVPSA grant programs will be able to provide critical supports to even more families across the country.

For more information on the ARP-FVPSA funding click here. More information about the program can be found at FVPSA.