New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state secure $1.5 million in Federal funding to help state-licensed domestic violence service providers for mobile devices and improved Wi-Fi access.

“One of the indirect consequences [of the pandemic] has been a spike in domestic violence incidents across the state,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Mobile outreach will help us connect individuals and families quickly and offer resources and assistance to get out of dangerous situations. In an increasingly remote world, these technological improvements will be a critical tool for helping particularly hard to reach New Yorkers in rural or isolated areas through COVID and beyond and increase public safety in all our communities.”

In a statement, New York said the new technology will allow programs and shelters to better support survivors of domestic violence who are “facing increased isolation and difficulty accessing services due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.” The state noted that its COVID-19 Domestic Violence Task Force recommended that New York focus on access to mobile advocacy as the state faces a surge of the virus.

“Access to services is vitally important to the well-being of domestic violence survivors and their children, and this will allow programs to find innovative technology solutions to safely reach domestic violence survivors during the pandemic and afterward,” said Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Sheila Poole. “Increasing Wi-Fi access in residential programs for victims of domestic violence facilitates education for children who are learning remotely and also assists domestic violence survivors in obtaining information on housing, employment, and other needed services – ultimately helping them find safety and security.”

New York State’s Office of Victim Services will manage the distribution of the $1.5 million in Federal funding, which will be spread across 89 nonprofit organizations licensed by the Office of Children and Family Services across the state. New York state said the funding for Wi-Fi access at domestic violence shelters is critical because many shelters house children engaged in hybrid or all-remote learning.

The funding follows the state releasing an online app for the Address Confidentiality Program, which helps victims of domestic violence, stalking, sexual offenses, and human trafficking protect themselves by getting new undisclosed addresses.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs