Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Walker Budget Cuts Assistance To Sexual Assault Victims

Walker's war on Wisconsin women continues.
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$396,000 Cut from Sexual Assault Services Grant Program in Budget Bill

Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Inc. 600 Williamson St., Suite N2, Madison, Wisconsin, 53703.

(Contact: Jeanie Kurka Reimer (608) 257-1516)

Madison,  March 29, 2011

“Helping victims of sexual assault needs to be a priority, even in tight budgets,” states Jeanie Kurka Reimer, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault (WCASA).

“Cutting funding to those who provide direct services to victims is not what we need to be doing at a time when the demand for those services is rising.”

A review of Sexual Assault Service Provider (SASP) data in 2010 revealed that many of them have experienced increases of over 100 percent in the number of victims coming through their doors in just the last few years.

The Executive Budget Bill would impact the provision of sexual assault services in Wisconsin through the Sexual Assault Victim Services grant program (SAVS), administered by the Department of Justice.

The budget bill allocates $1,815,100 in program revenue per year toward the SAVS program – with $1,782,000 of that amount for local assistance grants to local agencies.

By contrast, $2,069,500 was awarded to 43 agencies in calendar year 2010 according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s Informational Paper #62, Crime Victim and Witness Rights and Services, January, 2011.

SAVS is the program which provides state funds to local agencies to assist victims of sexual assault by providing services such as 24-hour crisis intervention and ongoing support and counseling to sexual assault victims as well as family members who are also impacted by this horrific crime.

They also play a key role by helping victims maneuver the health care and criminal justice systems. By helping victims directly they also play a large part in the reporting and eventual prosecution of sexual assault crimes – important since an estimated 60 to 80 percent of sexual assaults go unreported every year. In addition, these funds help support prevention efforts in schools and the community and law enforcement training.

The reduced funding of SAVS would be especially damaging at this time since the demand for sexual assault victim services is rising rapidly.

Kurka Reimer added:

“This is not an extravagant grant program, but it is one that is critical to maintaining SASPs around the state that are helping victims of sexual assault every day. We look forward to the day when we can talk about increasing funding of SAVS in order to at least partially meet the rising demand for sexual assault services and not merely trying to keep the doors open, but for now we hope legislators are able to prioritize this public safety investment and maintain the program at last year’s funding level.”

Voice/TTY (608) 257-1516 • Fax (608) 257-2150 •
www.wcasa.org

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2 comments:

clyde winter said...

Thank you, James, for reporting this news of the how the current state legislative leadership and the new Walker Administration, intends to disdain and ignore the horrible consequences of the increased incidence of crimes of sexual assault.

Dawn said...

Very interesting commentary! I find it interesting that the U.S. can continue to contribute to other countries without taking care of thier own first. This program is needed to ensure the safety of our society. I live in a very small community in Wisconsin and the programs are badly needed here. I would be to volunteer my time to assist victims of not crimes of sexual nature but any type of crime. Please let me know when, where and what time.....I will be there!! I am serious my e-mail is dawns6996@gmail.com Please feel free to contact me!!