Sequester About to Make Domestic Violence Crisis Worse

When Republicans stood in unison against renewing the Violence Against Women Act last year and early into this year, their main justification was that the bill was simply too bloated–it tried to do too much to help too many people who just didn’t really need the help.

I’m curious where they got their information, because a new report shows the exact opposite to be true: domestic violence is a pervasive, chronic public health problem that need serious and immediate attention. And thanks to the looming sequester, help for victims is about to be even harder to find.

In just one 24-hour period, local domestic violence programs across the country provided help and safety to 64,324 adults and children who are victims of domestic violence. Survivors were given a safe place to stay and resources to escape violence and abuse. Sadly, 10,471 times on that same day, a hotline rang or a victim showed up at the door to request a shelter bed, an attorney, counseling or another critical service and the local program was forced to say “I am so terribly sorry that we don’t have the resources or funds- can I work with you on a safety plan or try to find you some help in a neighboring town?”

This is the legislative bloat Republicans were so “brave” to stand up against.

For the seventh consecutive year, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) conducted its annual National Census of Domestic Violence Services. They just recently released their analysis of that data in the report: Domestic Violence Counts: A 24-hour Census of Domestic Violence Shelters and Services.  The report revealed that reduced funding for domestic violence services means that programs are unable to help survivors with shelter, attain legal help or leave abusive partners. Gee, thanks GOP.

The economic conditions of the past few years have had a significant impact on domestic violence programs, and that was before Republicans started playing a game of funding-chicken with these much needed services.

“Cutting funds to domestic violence programs means that victims have fewer places to turn,” said Kim Gandy, President and CEO of NNEDV. “It is impossible to hold offenders accountable and provide safe havens for victims with reduced funding for services and shelters.  Budget cuts at the local, state, and federal level are creating increased danger to victims and their children.”

It’s not just games over VAWA hurting domestic violence victims. Thanks to Republican gaming on all things related to the budget, Congress will not face any impact from the sequester, but domestic violence victims sure will. According to recent analysis, sequestration will result in approximately 70,000 fewer victims getting help from domestic violence programs and approximately 36,000 fewer victims having access to protection orders, crisis intervention and counseling, sexual assault services, hospital-based advocacy, transitional housing services and help with civil legal matters.

“Across the country, domestic violence programs are working harder than ever to help victims of abuse,” added Gandy. “But we also know that, across the board, funding for victim services is dwindling while the demand is climbing.”

The report breaks the data down in to state-by-state summaries, providing a comprehensive look at a problem that is solvable but for a lack of political will, and therefore political resources. We may not be able to stop all abuse before it happens, but there’s no reason we can’t be there for victims when it does.


Related Reading:

GOP Oppose Violence Against Women Act Because It Helps Too

Will Republicans Kill The Violence Against Women Act?

Schlafly: Violence Against Women Act “Breaks Up Families”


Photo from jronaldlee via flickr.


Marvin Haberthier

In my last comment I alienated some men because of my pro-woman stance. Nevertheless all men are going to have to get over the reality that VAWA and our improved state rape and domestic violence laws are here to stay and will only be strengthened as time wears on. Nearly everyone, men, women, faith based groups, conservatives, liberals, business, and labor all support our enhanced laws protecting women.

Recent accounts of high school girls being raped and humiliated by viral Internet photos and videos are grim reminders that we must get tough on violence against women and girls. This evil rape culture must be crushed by all means necessary.

There is another issue that more people need to get involved with that involves protecting women and all of us. Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin recently signed the American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) bill into law. ALAC laws prohibit the incursion of foreign law and legal doctrines into our state courts.

Under foreign legal doctrines women can lose their rights to division of marital property, alimony, and child custody. Activist courts can use foreign law, if permitted, to trump the protections available to women under VAWA and our state rape and domestic violence laws.

Marvin Haberthier

I was blessed by reading Jessica's post. I totally agree with her. I am a man with conservative leanings and am pro-life but know that the liberals got it right on VAWA! I fully support VAWA and our improved state rape and domestic violence laws that protect women and children. As a man I am embarrassed and ashamed that we even need VAWA so desperately. It is necessary for men to have some of their procedural rights modified in the VAWA context because of the insidious nature of rape and domestic violence. A sexually traumatized woman and frightened defenseless children must receive special consideration and accommodations. It is simply the right thing to do.

The Lord wants us to keep our giving private but I will mention that I donate to charities and non-profits that serve victimized women and children because I want women to know that there are men who are in their corner and support them. Also, I urge everyone to donate to charities and non-profits that are carrying out the mission of VAWA. We cannot rely on government to do it all. We must get involved.

Fi T.
Past Member 3 years ago

Everybody needs a safe home

Andrew J.
Andrew J.3 years ago

One of the biggest challenges here is that we are going to cause the suffering of children. Even children that are not directly abused themselves and just bear witness to the abuse are so negatively affected. Look at these alarming statistics - Reaching the children that are abused and showing them a more powerful alternative is the key to ending the cycle of violence.

greenplanet e.
greenplanet e3 years ago

I think in some men's minds women and girls are nothing but chattels or objects with no rights of their own. It makes me sick.

John Hablinski
John Hablinski3 years ago

Contd. I tried to watch it but within 5 minutes I had to change the channel or suffer an apoplectic fit. He started in on Keynesian Economics and promoting what Bush41 called Voodoo Economics during the 1980 Republican Presidential Primary. History has shown us time and again; every time Republican Policies get us into a financial fiasco the Keynesian Principles have rescued the country.

John Hablinski
John Hablinski3 years ago

Janice B. Apparently we, the American people, have the shortest memory span in world history. Bush43 wreaked so much damage on this nation and the world that the human mind cannot fully probe the amassed results. In the guise of returning the $800+Billion budgetary surplus, he was handed on day one of his administration, to the “people” he & the GOP House & Senate issued tax cuts for the wealthy and thus gave the PEOPLE’S $800+Billion to the rich. He put 2 wars on the US Credit Card along with Medicare Part D the prescription coverage for Medicare recipients. The program was desperately needed so he used it as a bribe for the American People to insure his reelection and we all know how that 2nd. term ended. We and the world are still suffering the results of his policies and the Republicans today are set, with some success, to blame this wreckage on President Obama! David Stockman, Reagan’s economic “Boy Wonder” has written a new book and he was interviewed on Charlie Rose a few days ago.

John Hablinski
John Hablinski3 years ago

Luvenia wrote: “We can’t afford work on our infrastructure even though our roads, bridges, dams, levels and seaports are falling apart and we have water and gas pipes exploding every day. We can’t afford our teachers, police and firefighters so more people are unemployed. We can’t afford food stamps so more Americans are going to bed hungry. …” --- And homophobes such as Paul C. assure us the single reason for all our nation’s and the world’s maladies are due to the growing acceptance of Gay men and women and support for their desire to marry the person they love. How I abhor idiocy!

Shanti S.
S S3 years ago

Thank you.

Terry V.
Terry V3 years ago