In the District of Columbia, a domestic violence emergency call reaches the Metropolitan Police Department every 17 minutes. Yet D.C. remains one of the only jurisdictions in the country without dedicated local funding to support services for victims of domestic violence and their children.
Local funding has sustained significant cuts in recent years, forcing programs to drastically reduce - and potentially completely eliminate - life saving services. The domestic violence community cannot sustain services that save constituents' lives if the District continues to cut funding for core, non-residential anti-domestic violence programs and services.
Please sign this petition and tell D.C. policy makers that they must prioritize funding for core, non-residential programs and services for victims of domestic violence and their children in the Fiscal Year 2011 budget.
As a concerned constituent, I ask that you support the dedication of $2 million in Fiscal Year 2011 to sustain core, non-residential services for victims of domestic violence and their children. There are estimated to be as many as 75,000 victims of domestic violence in D.C. - and they depend upon critical services including a 24 hour crisis line, legal representation, safety planning, counseling, community advocacy, and specialized resources for teens and youth.
In just one day last September, D.C.'s domestic violence service providers assisted 394 victims of domestic violence. Sadly, on that very same day, because of critical staffing and funding shortages, there were 101 unmet requests for service.
Last year's budget reduced available funding from the Office of Victim Services by a staggering 25% and one-time Recovery Act funding did little more than mask a gaping hole in local funding for these life-saving services. The funding shortfall has forced local programs to drastically reduce - and in some cases nearly eliminate - services that help ensure the safety of thousands of victims and survivors.
What's further challenging is the fact that the harsh economic climate has contributed to alarming increases in the frequency and severity of abuse in the District. Local domestic violence service providers report tremendous increases in crisis calls to hotlines and requests for help - last year, one program saw a 57% increase in calls to its hotline. In 2009:
* The number of children served by the Domestic Violence Intake Centers
nearly doubled and the number of teens served tripled;
* Requests for protection orders increased by 7%; and
* 15% of all homicides in the District were domestic violence homicides -
a 5% increase over 2008.
As a concerned citizen, I ask that you prioritize $2 million in funding for core, non-residential programs and services for victims of domestic violence and their children. Lives depend on it.