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Published on December 10, 2007

President Shortchanges Victims of Violence
 


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For the sixth year in a row, President Bush’s budget request falls far short of the amount of spending Congress authorized for the Violence Against Women Act  (VAWA).  Overall, his budget proposal provides only 54% of authorized funding levels for lifesaving domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence programs -  and several programs would receive no funding at all!  What’s more, instead of providing a specific amount of funding to the program areas designated by Congress, President Bush proposes allocating funds to the states as a lump sum block grant , where the funds could be spent in a way that doesn’t correspond to identified priorities.

Fortunately, from what we’ve been hearing, Congress is not likely to go along with the block grant proposal.  However, we will have our work cut out for us to achieve authorized funding levels for VAWA programs in a tight budget year. 

YOU CAN HELP!!  TELL US YOUR STORIES!!

Below please read about the funding status for critical program areas.  If you are a survivor or a service provider, tell us your personal stories about how funding in these program areas did or would make a difference, or tell how not having funding for these programs has placed lives in jeopardy.  Help them understand how critical these life-saving programs are.

We will compile your stories into a booklet that will be hand-delivered to congressional offices. (your personal stories can be anonymous)

Children Exposed to Violence  As many as 10 million children will witness their mothers being abused this year.  Funding in this program area would provide counseling services to these children so that the long term effects of trauma exposure are minimized. Authorized for $20 million per year.  Never funded.  This year funding is not defined because of the block grant proposal. (tell my story )

Sexual Assault Services Act:   An estimated 200, 000 women will be sexually assaulted this year. This is the only source of federal funding for local rape crisis programs which provide critical emergency and ongoing support services to rape victims.  Authorized at $50 million per year.. Never funded  Funding not defined this year because of block grant. (tell my story)

Shelter and Services (FVPSA)  There are over 2000 community based domestic violence programs that provide shelter and services to some 300,000 victims annually.  Yet every day, shelters turn victims away because of overcrowding.  The Family Violence and Prevention Services Act is the main source of federal funding for shelter programs.  Congress has authorized $175 million per year, however the President’s budget requests only $125 million. (tell my story)

Elder Abuse and Abuse of People with Disabilities : These vulnerable populations – who may not have the physical or mental ability to protect themselves, are victimized at rates 2-3 times that of the general population.  Often the abuser is their caretaker. VAWA grants for the elderly and disabled provide funds for facility modifications as well as funds for services, and funds to train law enforcement and social service providers in recognizing signs of abuse.  Authorized for $20 million per year, last year received just over half that amount.  This year, because of the block grant proposal, funding has not been defined. (tell my story)

Civil Legal Assistance for Victims:  In the aftermath of domestic or sexual violence, victims may need civil legal remedies such as protection orders, child support, custody, immigration, housing or public benefits assistance. Yet 70% of victims lack legal representation. The Legal Assistance Program for Victims is the only federal program designed to meet these victim needs.  Congress authorized $65 million per year for these programs, last year they received, only $38.5 million.  This year funding has not been designated because of the block grant proposal. (tell my story)

Campus Grants to End Violence Against Women : Approximately 3% of college women are sexually assaulted during a typical college year (that’s 300 for very 10,000 students), and still more are victims of stalking or dating violence. The VAWA Campus Grants provide funding for victim services as well as for campus programs that change the attitudes and beliefs that give rise to violence against women.  Authorized by Congress for $15 million per year, last year this program received $8.9 million. This year, because of the block grant proposal, funding is undetermined. (tell my story)




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