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February 3, 2010

Washington, D.C. – NNEDV today applauded President Obama and Vice President Biden for proposing to increase federal funding for life-saving domestic violence services. 

“President Obama and Vice President Biden’s budget proposal sends a clear message that the White House is serious about serving survivors of domestic violence and holding perpetrators accountable,” said Sue Else, NNEDV’s president.  “An investment in domestic violence services is an investment in saving lives.  By maintaining or increasing funding for effective programs, the budget plan will not only save lives but also save taxpayer money in the future.”

The fiscally responsible proposal invests a record $730 million to support life-saving, cost-effective services on the ground.  The plan doubles the investment in the Sexual Assault Services Program and includes a seven percent increase for the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, funding that is the lifeblood of domestic violence shelters and programs.  The National Domestic Violence Hotline would see a 43 percent increase to help answer the increasing volume of incoming crisis calls.  The proposal includes a 39 percent increase for safe transitional housing for survivors and a 22 percent increase to provide victims with legal assistance.  Additionally, the Victims of Crime Act would see a 13 percent increase. 

Attorney General Eric Holder announced a new $37-million program to help children who are exposed to violence in their homes and communities – a critical measure aimed to stop the intergenerational cycle of violence.    

Proposed in the Housing and Urban Development budget is a new initiative to provide easier access to renters’ vouchers for those who need them.  Many survivors of domestic violence need somewhere safe to live, and better access to rental properties provides them with more opportunities to escape abuse.  

“The economic downturn is exacerbating domestic violence, and survivors are left with fewer options for escape,” said Else.  “More victims are turning to domestic violence programs for help.  With more funding, more survivors and their children will be able to live free from abuse.” 

While very pleased with most of the proposal, allies in the movement against domestic and sexual violence were disappointed to see a small decrease in funding for the Services-Training-Officers-Prosecutors (STOP) grant program, which has a proven track record of helping victims and holding abusers accountable.  The proposal also includes a 21 percent decrease for Grants to Encourage Arrest and Enforce Protection Orders, an effective homicide-prevention initiative that brings offenders to justice.   

“We look forward to working with Congress to implement the White House’s vision but also to increase investments in all programs that serve victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking,” said Else.  

Approximately 2.3 million people in the United States are victims of domestic violence each year.  One in four women will experience domestic violence at some point in her life, and an average of three women are killed every day at the hands of a current or former intimate partner.