posted by Delia Christina
Organizations like mine are in self-defense mode. Already, we're feeling the biting crunch of the FY08 cuts in the VOCA/VAWA budget. Programs (i.e., medical/legal advocacy, child sexual assault counseling, adult counseling, education and training sessions, and crucial hotline services) are on the chopping block. For real. This has been my world for the past few weeks, the reason why I've been away from the interwebs. I've been looking at a black hole and trying to figure out how to keep from going in. The folks on the front line of direct service are suffering more - as are the survivors we serve - but I have a tight knot in my belly right now.
If this funding is cut where the frak is this funding going to come from?
In my city, the Administration has made a pretty good effort at throwing some funding support behind domestic violence services but the same kind of fiscal and infrastructure support needs to be thrown behind sexual assault at the local level. Though hotlines like the one my organization operates in the city show no signs of decreased use, our local police departments report a decrease in rape reports and it looks like their administrative goal is to see those reports decrease further - as if that's a good thing. If sexual assault victims aren't going to the police, they're going to organizations like mine where they find the help they need to navigate both the medical and legal systems - if they can find us and are made aware of us.
So, this month, call your local rape crisis center or organization that helps victims and survivors of sexual and domestic assault and ask what you can do to get the word out and protect these funds. You know the drill: write those letters to your local papers, call your legislator and ask what she's doing to protect those funds, call your local city rep and ask what their plan is if the city rape crisis centers disappear. Keep your eyes and ears open about local events, press conferences, action items, and other stuff the public can participate in. You'll make some stressed out staffer somewhere extremely happy.
[Thanks for listening; now I have to call some indifferent aldermen and check on an epileptic dog. Stress!]
Labels: sexual assault; VOCA-VAWA; work;