TOKYO - A new hotline for victims of domestic violence will open Monday amid growing concerns that cases of abuse will rise in the wake of stay-at-home requests due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, Japan's minister for women's empowerment Seiko Hashimoto said at a press conference Friday.

The free hotline, which can be reached on 0120-279-889, will initially be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, but will shift to 24-hour operation from the night of April 29.

Consultations will also be available via email or a members-only social media site, with details to be announced soon on the government's official website for gender equality.

Related coverage:

Coronavirus, stay-home request hit girls with no place to go

Homeless squeezed as coronavirus hits sales of "The Big Issue"

Midwives seeking to ease expectant mothers' worries amid pandemic

The bureau's existing 0570-0-55210 hotline, which connects callers to their closest consultation center, will also remain open.

Multilingual support in English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, Tagalog, Thai and Vietnamese will be available via social media from May 1.

The government also plans to strengthen cooperation with private support groups and shelters to provide emergency lodgings for victims and help them take necessary administrative procedures.

"We want to address the various needs (of victims), and provide support to as many as possible," Hashimoto said.