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December 6, 2011

“The National Network to End Domestic Violence commends Congress for passing this appropriations bill which includes significant funding for these critically-needed services,” said Sue Else, NNEDV’s president.  “In these challenging economic times, programs across the country are struggling to do more with less.  With this federal funding, VAWA programs can continue to work as a coordinated community to keep victims safe and hold perpetrators accountable.”

In the current state of the economy, domestic violence programs struggle to handle increased workloads as more victims with fewer resources seek assistance.  In fact, the National Network to End Domestic Violence’s 2010 National Domestic Violence Census reported that 82% of programs reported a rise in demand for services, while 77% of programs reported a decrease in funding.  In 2010, domestic violence programs laid off or did not replace 2,007 staff positions due to a lack of funding.

The bill includes $25 million for the VAWA Transitional Housing Program, which funds temporary housing programs and an array of social services for domestic and sexual violence victims after they leave emergency shelter, providing a bridge between crisis and long-term safety and stability.  Importantly, the bill also included a total of $23 million in funding for the Sexual Assault Services Program.

The bill provided level funding for many other VAWA programs, including the Services, Training, Officers, Prosecutors (STOP) grants, which support innovative criminal justice responses; the Civil Legal Assistance for Victims program; and programs to address abuse of older or disabled individuals.

“We recognize that this is an extremely challenging fiscal time and that Congress is faced with making difficult funding decisions.  We are grateful for the appropriators’ support of these cost-effective, lifesaving programs,” said Else.  “We are especially thankful for the steadfast commitment and leadership on the part of Senate CJS Subcommittee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, House CJS Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf, Senate CJS Subcommittee Ranking Member Kay Bailey Hutchison, and House CJS Subcommittee Ranking Member Chaka Fattah.”