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Help Advocate for Funding for Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Centers

In Advocacy, Sexual Assault Awareness on January 4, 2010 at 2:46 pm

As we go into a new term with a new Governor and face budget revisions, I thought I would blog on how this may effect Sexual and Domestic Violence Agencies.

Governor Kaine had proposed some cuts for Sexual Assault Crisis Centers (SACCs) and Domestic Violence Programs (DVPs).  While Kaine made cuts across all programs, and that will 5% and 6% may seen small in comparison, compared to need these cuts are considerable.   Most services for sexual assault and domestic violence victims are managed through small, local programs and such cuts can make a big impact for our communities.  These cuts are on top of other funding cuts from local and state funding sources.

Kaine’s proposed reductions are:    SACCs proposed reduction of $67,500 per year (6% of $1.2 million in state funds) DVPs proposed reduction of $138,750 per year (5% of approx $2.9 million state funds)

This is a proposed budget by an outgoing Governor. The incoming Governor will also influence the process by introducing amendments. Therefore, the proposed budget will be changed. It will be up to the General Assembly to determine the final budget. This includes the 20 new members of the House.

If your legislator is one of the 20 new House members make contact NOW and see if you can meet with him/her prior to their leaving for the General Assembly (which starts January 13th). There is still time and opportunity for action. ·

Virginia continues to face a funding crisis.

If revenues are not increased, all of the services in the Commonwealth are at risk for even deeper cuts. · The budget amendment to support children, youth and non-offending parent services has a funding source (increased marriage license fee), and has support among General Assembly members with whom we have met. Therefore, we are continuing to go forward with the budget amendment, with the broadest language possible. · Federal funding for sexual and domestic violence services has been increased in the FY10 budget. This renewed federal support for VOCA and VAWA funding will help offset cuts in state funding if we can keep them at 5-6%. Our Goal, in alliance with the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, is to restore the funding that has been cut and successfully pass the budget amendment for services for children, youth and their non-offending parents. If the funding that has been cut cannot be restored in the current financial climate, we plan to work hard to ensure that funding for sexual and domestic violence services is not further cut.

We will need all our community members to help!!

What You Can Do:

· Most importantly, be prepared! The budget process will be ongoing throughout the General Assembly session, and things can happen VERY fast.  Plan to attend the Action Alliance Legislative Advocacy Day in Richmond January 27th. Call your legislators now to schedule your appointments with them for the morning of the 27th.

· You can attend the budget hearings (where members of the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees hear from the public) which are at noon on January 7th in Portsmouth, Harrisonburg and Blacksburg, 10 am on January 8th in Fairfax, and noon January 11th in Richmond (go to http://hac.virginia.gov and scroll down to “Public Notice” for locations and directions or go to http://sfc.virginia.gov).

If you attend: o You MUST arrive at least 2 hours early to sign up. o Be prepared that MANY public safety and social services experienced much deeper cuts than we did and will likely be present in large numbers. o Share what the impact will be to your program if you experience any cuts. o Express appreciation that the cuts weren’t any deeper o Show support for the budget amendment for services for children, youth and non-offending parents.

· Contact your legislators now and educate them on the impact any cuts to funding will have, what your funding needs are, and ask for their support to not cut funding any further. (Calls or mail work best. Email is not the best approach) Thank you for ALL that you do for victims and survivors of sexual and domestic violence! We look forward to working with you during the 2010 General Assembly session.

As always, if you have ANY questions or comments, please contact Stacy or Kristine at the Action Alliance at 804-377-0335 or publicpolicy@vsdvalliance.org

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