The Domestic Violence Center of the Santa Clarita Valley would like everyone to know the rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated.
While funding for the center was cut so drastically that they had to leave their familiar location on Newhall Avenue (formerly San Fernando Road), they found a donor willing to subsidize them at a reduced rent in a new office on Avenue Stanford in the Valencia Industrial Center.
The budget shortfall came from cuts made by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and hit the local center for more than $200,000. Because of the cuts, the center also had to lay off many staff members.
Executive Director Nicole Shellcroft testified Monday before the Assembly Select Committee on Domestic Violence in Sacramento, pointing out the devastating effect the budget cuts had on this community.
She lamented the loss of the larger outreach center, which was known not by people calling in, but by word-of-mouth among community members.
"The smaller space means that we've lost our accessibility," she told the legislators. "Many times, victims knocked on our door with bags in one hand and kids in the other."
She also noted that the smaller space does not allow adequate space for support group or counseling sessions, which now have to be held offsite, compromising client confidentiality.
She also said that the center has turned away four new clients in the last week, even though their hotline traffic continues to grow.
"The loss of domestic violence centers sends a message that victims hear from their abusers all the time, and that is you are alone," she said.
To date, six domestic violence centers throughout the state have closed their doors as a result of the Governor's action. Santa Clarita's domestic violence center staff and board of directors vowed to keep the doors open and reached out to the community to find a new and affordable office.
"I'm very pleased that the community responded positively to our request for a new home and that we are able to continue providing necessary domestic violence services to those in need at our new location. Our 24-hour hotline, counseling programs and outreach services, such as our teen and bi-lingual programs, are an integral part of the social fiber of Santa Clarita and it is our mission to continue providing these services," explained Mary Ree, Board President.
The Mission of the SCV Domestic Violence Center is to: Promote and preserve non-violent non-abusive family systems through intervention, prevention and education; Provide round the clock shelter and counseling with professionalism and compassion to families in crisis due to violence in the home; raise public awareness of physical, emotional and sexual abuse in relationships in order to eliminate the cycle of violence; Work with victims as a liaison to the court system, law enforcement and public agencies; Empower victims to overcome domestic violence; Be the premier resource for domestic violence services in the Santa Clarita Valley.
If you believe that you or someone you know may be a victim of domestic violence, please call the Center's 24-hour Hotline at 661-259-HELP. For more information about the services provided by the Domestic Violence Center , please visit the Center's website at: www.dvcsantaclarita.com . Or, call the Center at: 661-259-8175 .