Newsom Announces Text-to-911, Domestic Violence Victim Support

Today, Governor Gavin Newsom and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom announced new initiatives related to 911 services and services for domestic violence victims amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The California Office of Emergency Services (OES) Public Safety Communications Branch rolled out “text-to-911” capability throughout the state, allowing individuals to text ‘911’ for emergency services. According to the Governor’s Office, 75 percent of California’s population can actively send texts to 911, including almost every major metropolitan area. Cal OES is also in the process of enabling “text from 911” capabilities at all public safety answering points (PSAPs) throughout the state. This will allow 911 dispatchers to text a caller back in the event their call is disconnected.

Additionally, the Governor announced $5.3 million in existing Victims of Crime Act funds to three coalitions to support domestic violence victims during the COVID-19 pandemic: 1) $3 million to California Partnership to End Domestic Violence; 2) $1.6 million to California Coalition on Sexual Assault; and 3) $721,337 to Children’s Advocacy Centers of California. These three entities will distribute funds to local victim service providers. In addition to the state funds, the Women’s Foundation of California has committed to working with the state to raise private funds that support domestic violence organizations.

Further, the Governor’s Office announced a partnership with the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, Airbnb, and Uber to provide free accommodations up to 30 days and transportation to victims of domestic violence. The partnership will launch in Sacramento, San Francisco, and Los Angeles areas with the intent to expand the pilot to other areas within the state.

The announcement from the Governor’s Office is available here.