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Tell Albany: Cutting Domestic Violence Services Empowers Abusers

This petition had 1,700 supporters


Every day, thousands of New Yorkers are physically and psychologically abused by a partner. Since the start of the recession, long-term unemployment and financial hardships have made a bad situation even worse: there has been a 72% increase in the incidence of domestic violence in the Northeast region, and in New York State, domestic violence homicide rates increased 24% from 2007 to 2009. In New York City, alone, 3,000 vicitms of domestic violence are served each month. 

Despite those startling statistics, New York State has been slashing the very programs that help women leave an abusive situation—and saves lives. Over the last two years, the state has cut $3 million from programs that provide counseling, legal, case management, and other non-shelter-based domestic violence services, allocating just $500,000 for the current fiscal year—for all of New York State. In the next budget, the State plans to eliminate funding for non-shelter services entirely.  

But the policy is penny wise and pound foolish. The costs of addressing the harm when services are not available are much higher--every $1 spent on domestic violence programs saves $10 in future costs. 

With continuing economic uncertainty and the rising incidence of domestic violence, the state must not be allowed to defund domestic violence programs, in fact we ask that they reinstate the original $3 million in funding so that community based organizations can be most effective--and because it will cost the state much more money in the long-term.

  •  Researchers found that allocating $1.6 billion for domestic violence programs led to a net averted cost of $14.8 billion.     
  •  Non-shelter domestic violence programs provide a continuum of care that is essential in supporting a domestic violence victim to successfully leave their abuser, such as counseling, legal and case management services. 
  • The programs help to stave off the astronomically high health care costs associated with domestic violence. Center for Disease Control studies, in 2003, placed the annual estimated direct health care costs, nationally, to be around $4.1 billion.
  • Domestic violence victims lose a total of nearly eight million days of paid work a year—the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs  
  • Almost 390,000 domestic violence and sexual assault hotline calls were received in New York State in 2010

We urge you to sign the petition and ask them not to zero out the state’s share of non-shelter domestic violence programs in New York State and to restore funding at pre-2010 levels. To further erode these vital services will mean that victims will go without access to safety for themselves and their children--some will be killed by their batterers. Many that do reach out will instead seek help through emergency rooms, lose jobs and become dependent on public benefits. At a time of deficit reduction and limited resources, New York State cannot afford to eliminate these services. 

Photo credit: Marit and Toomas Hinnosaar


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