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Ashley Moody, Uber announce free rides away from domestic violence

Domestic violence calls have gone up amid the pandemic, but shelter visits are down.

Uber is partnering with the state to provide an escape from dangerous situations.

Attorney General Ashley Moody and the rideshare giant announced a program to help victims of domestic violence, an especially important function while much of the population remain at home most of the day and law enforcement agencies continue to see spikes in domestic violence calls.

“Victims of domestic violence need to know that help is still available and there are people who care deeply about their health and safety,” Moody said.

“Victims do not have to stay isolated with their abusers. Domestic violence shelters remain open around the state, and through this new program with Uber, I am hopeful that we can connect more victims with the shelter and life-saving services they need to escape abuse and begin the healing process.”

Moody’s office said some regions of Florida have seen an increase in domestic violence calls to police, which has been accompanied by a decrease in calls for safe shelter and abuse counseling.

It’s a trend alarming public officials around Florida.

Now Uber will start providing free rides in areas with the greatest call volumes including Hillsborough, Orange and Pinellas counties.

“As the coronavirus continues to impact Florida communities, current safer-at-home guidelines may prove challenging for some of our most vulnerable citizens, including victims of domestic violence,” said Stephanie Smith, Uber’s Senior Public Policy Manager.

“That is why Uber is proud to work with Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody in providing free rides to domestic violence shelters. We want to do our part to ensure that those faced with limited, or no, transportation options have access to supportive spaces where they can remain safe through this public health crisis.”

Moody’s office in April issued a public alert reminding domestic violence victims that a full range of services remained available to them. She announced then proper funding would be provided to nonprofits helping victims.

Uber’s partnership comes as ridership has been dropping substantially during the pandemic. Executives say it’s crucial to provide services to those in violent home situations. The company announced partnerships around the world providing a vital escape means from domestic violence situations.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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