Action Center

Increase Funding for Programs that Address Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, and Stalking
Many domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers are forced to turn away victims or delay counseling because of a lack of resources. Urge Congress to increase funding in its FY 2024 appropriations bills for services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault through programs authorized in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Family Violence Prevention Services Act (FVPSA), and the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). These programs are cost-effective and lifesaving. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 2022 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey shows that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime. Research indicates that programs that teach young people healthy relationship skills such as communication, effective managing feelings, and problem-solving can prevent violence. Hopefully, these skills can stop violence in dating relationships before it occurs. If our children are to face a future free from sexual violence, the Rape Prevention and Education program funding must increase significantly. 

The National Domestic Violence Counts Census found that in just one day during September 2022, while more than 79,335 victims of domestic violence received services such as shelter, housing, legal advocacy, transportation, and other services to help them escape abuse and rebuild their lives, more than 12,600 requests for services went unmet due to lack of funding and resources. Most of the staff shortages were direct service staff, including counselors, advocates, and especially children's advocates. Given reduced funding and staff, local programs had to reduce or completely eliminate countless services, including emergency shelter, legal advocacy, and counseling. So many survivors were trapped in their homes during COVID. Call volume to the National Domestic Violence Hotline reached historic levels in February 2022, nearly doubling compared to 2021.

Attention to campus and military sexual assault, and high-profile cases has meant more victims have come forward needing recovery services. According to a 2022 survey by the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, the nation’s 1,500 sexual assault programs often lack the resources to meet victims’ most basic needs; over 70 percent of programs saw an increased demand for services. Over 43 percent of programs report a waiting list for services, and 45 percent lacked a therapist on staff. Prevention and education programs are so important in each community. Short and long-term services must be available to help victims recover.   

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