Funding for family violence programs in jeopardy
by Lynette Whitlock
Assistant Director, Crisis Center of Comal County
In 2003, nearly three Texas women were killed each week due to family violence, totaling 153 women killed by their intimate partners. These tragic numbers underscore the staggering fact that 74% of all Texans have been victims of family violence themselves or know someone else who has been victimized.
At the same time that family violence is having such a huge impact on Texans, we are also facing possible cuts to State funding for emergency shelter and other life-saving services, as well as to battering intervention and prevention programs.
The source of State funding for these programs the Crime Victims' Compensation Fund (CVC Fund) is in danger of not having enough money to adequately fund services for victims of family violence in Texas.
If State funding for family violence services is lost or reduced, emergency shelters all around the State may have to close. The loss of these services translates to a loss of lives in Texas.
If funding is cut it will affect services the Crisis Center of Comal County is able to provide to victims of family violence.
In 2004, the Crisis Center provided emergency shelter (resident clients) to 427 women, children, and men in our community for a total of 6075 days of shelter.
The Center also provided crisis intervention, legal advocacy, individual counseling and group counseling to an additional 698 non-resident clients.
Due to the growing prevalence of relationship violence involving younger, school age victims, the Crisis Center is also providing prevention education in local schools in an effort to educate youth on healthy relationships. These are all vital services that victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in our community need.
Without them, many victims would be forced to stay in dangerous environments, which place them and their children in danger.
Family violence agencies across the state are hopeful that Texas legislators will find a way to maintain the current level of funding for these crucial services. Let them hear your voices. You can help by contacting your representatives and senators and letting them know you support the continued funding of these programs. To find out who your legislators are you can visit the state website at www.capitol.state.tx.us.
For information on Crisis Center services call 1-800-434-8013. All services
are free and confidential.