Sununu emergency orders target domestic violence, child abuse

CONCORD, N.H. (WCAX) New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu says he is taking steps to protect the state's families from domestic violence and child abuse during the coronavirus pandemic.

At an afternoon press briefing Wednesday, Sununu said he is issuing two emergency orders. One will provide $600,000 for domestic and sexual violence crisis centers to cover expenses and hotel stays for victims. The second order for child abuse victims provides $2 million in new funding to be used for things like the hiring of new counselors and moving part-time staff to full-time.

"This emergency fund will ensure that domestic and sexual violence centers have the resources needed to provide critical services to victims of domestic violence. It will begin by providing funding to assist directly with victims' needs to cover groceries, rent, health products, educational materials for children. It will also create funding for hotel stays," Sununu said.

Sununu said that a significant drop in the number of child abuse reports is concerning. "Call and report -- everyone has a responsibility," he said.

The message comes after Moira O’Neill, director of the Office of the Child Advocate, said home confinement and disrupted routines could be contributing to child abuse, but calls to a state hotline have dropped because children are “out of school and out of sight."

The hotline to report child abuse is: 1-800-894-5533.
The hotline to report domestic violence is:1-800-277-5570.

N.H. health officials reported a total of 415 people have now tested positive for COVID-19. The number of deaths has increased to four.

One of the latest victims is a resident at a group home for people with disabilities. Officials with the Crotched Mountain Foundation in Greenfield say the 46-year-old man who died Sunday had a history of respiratory complications. Two other group home clients and three staff members have also tested positive.