Protect State Funding For Domestic Violence Programs
The Domestic Violence Center of the Santa Clarita Valley, the area's only agency serving a 250 square mile area, is facing significant challenges again this year as the Governor Schwarzenegger has failed to include funding for California's domestic violence programs in the 2010/11 State budget. As a consequence of this action, the Santa Clarita Valley Domestic Violence Center will lose nearly half its annual budget, resulting in a loss of many of the crucial, often live-saving domestic violence services now available to residents of the Santa Clarita Valley!
Last year, the Governor eliminated 100% of on-going domestic violence funding from the State budget. Thanks to the efforts of Assemblymember Cameron Smyth and State Senator Leland Yee, the legislature passed SB X3-13 which provided one-time emergency funds to backfill lost funding. However, these one-time finds will expire June 30, 2010
Restore funding for the upcoming 2010/11 fiscal year to ensure the continuation of lifesaving domestic violence services across the state.
Fund California's Domestic Violence Programs at $20.4 million (historic funding levels) via a reoccurring budget line-item under the California Emergency Management Agency, Domestic Violence Budget.
The State's Domestic Violence Program funding allows local agencies to provide victims of domestic violence with vital and necessary services such as emergency shelter, transitional housing, and legal advocacy, as well as assistance with restraining orders, counseling and other crucial support services. Domestic violence shelters are often the only thing standing between victims and grave physical danger, and California's communities cannot sustain their loss.
According to a national census of domestic violence services, in just one day, over 7,700 requests for services went unmet due to a lack of resources. When the resources do not exist for victims to receive domestic violence services, they are often left with no choice but to risk their own lives by returning to their abusers.
In 2009, Santa Clarita saw a 100% increase in its murder rate, and half of those murders were a direct result of domestic violence!
In the same time period, the Domestic Violence Center of the Santa Clarita Valley saw a marked increase in demand for services. Last year, the Center provided almost 600 shelter bed nights to victims of domestic violence and their children seeking sanctuary, solace, and safety in the emergency shelter. The Center also responded to 787 crisis hotline calls and provided life-saving supportive services to 182 new outreach center clients. In collaboration with Partners in Care Foundation, a nonprofit in San Fernando Valley, the Center worked to secure permanent housing for 12 families.
Reducing Domestic Violence Center budgets by 50% does not simply equate to a 50% service reduction because:
- You can't cut a domestic violence shelter in half
- You can't operate an emergency hotline 12 hours per day...as opposed to 24;
- You can't be there for clients when it's convenient for you.
- Domestic Violence strikes at all hours of the day and night to all kinds of people.
- D.V. Centers need to be there for victims when they need us, not when it suits a budget.