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In Outreach, Sexual Assault Awareness on February 20, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Please help! Show your support! Promote the message to not decimate services to victims of sexual and domestic violence and their children and other safety net services.

SEE ACTION STEPS 1 and 2 below.

In addition to the cuts for domestic violence, other services such as Thurman Brisben, Hope House, free lunch programs, K-12, disabilities, health insurance for children, child abuse services, forensic nurse examiners, are all about to be chopped drastically by recommendation from Governor McDonnell. Cuts in general funds results in cuts in Criminal Injuries Compensation Funds. This results in fewer services and less access to qualified mental health providers for victims of all violence.

Severe cuts to state domestic violence programs will end services to thousands of Virginians whose lives depend on the shelter and services these programs provide. Governor McDonnell asked the General Assembly to cut more than $3.5 million in funding[1] that supports domestic violence shelters and services to victims and their children across the Commonwealth. These cuts would be in addition to across the board cuts of 10% proposed in the Governor Kaine’s introduced budget. If adopted, Governor McDonnell’s recommendations will bring the total cuts to 50% of state funding – which translates to an average cut of $100,000 for each community Domestic Violence Program across the Commonwealth.

How funds will affect our local domestic violence services: Potential results at RCDV: no court advocacy (about 500 victims per year), no children’s services (167 children would lose support group and attention at the shelter to help them enroll in school, safety plan, and be assessed for child abuse), no support group services (over 175 women not served), lack of 24 hour support at the RCDV shelter which would require closing some of the beds at the shelter- less families sheltered with no place to go.

2009 Virginia survey results for victims sheltered: When asked “What would you have done if the shelter had not existed?”

• 22% of service recipients surveyed[2] indicated that they would have been homeless

• 21% reported that they would have been compelled to return to their abusers

• 10% believed that they would be dead at the hands of their abuser.

1. Call Governor McDonnell (804-786-2211) and ask him to continue his commitment to domestic violence as a public safety priority and restore the $3.8 million in funding cuts to domestic violence programs.

2. Call state Senators and Delegates who serve our agency’s service area (include your Senator and Delegate and those that serve all of RCDV’s service area, see attached for the list if you have time). (With the same message- do not vote to accept the Governor’s recommended cuts)

To determine who your legislators are go to: http://conview.state.va.us/whosmy.nsf/main?openform.

For Senator Capitol office phone numbers: http://sov.state.va.us/SenatorDB.nsf/$$Viewtemplate+for+WMembershipHome?

OpenForm For Delegate Capitol office phone numbers: http://dela.state.va.us/dela/MemBios.nsf/MWebsiteTL?OpenView

3. Write letters to the editor and op-eds. Post information on your Facebook page. Blog about the impact these cuts will have on victims in our community. Tweet action alerts.

Also, in an email from Senator Houck, he includes the results of a survey sent to his constituents- this may help you state how you would like to see the State lawmakers handle the situation (here is an excerpt from that email):

Below are the results of the survey, which focused on closing the $4 billion shortfall in the budget. 572 individuals responded.

QUESTIONS: 1. How do you close the shortfall?

TOTAL PERCENTAGE Spending reductions 149 26% Tax Increases 88 15% A combination of both 257 45%

2. What cuts do you support? Public Education 80 14% Sheriff Departments 90 16% Local Police departments 96 17% Medicaid funding 102 18% Higher education 244 43% 3.

What spending increases do you support? Delay car tax reimbursement 283 49% One percent income tax increase 248 43% Sell ABC stores 318 56%

If you have any further comments or questions, please do not hesitate to telephone at (804) 698-7517 or via e-mail at district17@senate.virginia.gov.

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