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NNEDV Calls for FVPSA Promise to be Fulfilled on 30th Anniversary

October 9, 2014

October 9, 2014, marks the 30th anniversary of the federal government’s first response to domestic violence, the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA). FVPSA-funded programs are the foundation of our nation’s response to adult and child victims of domestic violence. Over 2,000 local domestic violence agencies rely on FVPSA-funding to keep their doors open to hundreds of thousands of victims seeking safety each year. FVPSA, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, funds essential services that are at the core of ending domestic violence: emergency shelters, hotlines, counseling and advocacy, legal assistance, job readiness, and primary and secondary prevention.

“FVPSA’s passage was the first national advancement to address the silent and deadly epidemic of domestic violence.” said Kim Gandy, President and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV). “The act allowed victims to come out of the shadows and flee from abuse.”

A 2008 multi-state study found that the nation’s shelters and services were helping survivors meet their immediate and long-term needs. Survivors surveyed for the study reported that if shelters did not exist, the consequences would be catastrophic – homelessness, continued abuse, or even death. In 2011, FVPSA-funded programs provided services – ranging from shelter to counseling and much more – to over 1 million adults and children. In just one day, on September 13, 2013, NNEDV’s 24-hour National Census reported that 66,581 domestic violence victims and their children received help and found safety through domestic violence programs.

“FVPSA is simple yet profound,” continued Gandy. “A safe place to flee to, a warm bed, and someone to listen and help a survivor plan – those essential services go a long way toward helping a survivor find long-term safety, comfort and stability.”

Despite FVPSA’s reach, a gap in services still exists. In 2011, FVPSA-funded programs had to turn down over 170,000 requests for services. In just one day in 2013, almost 10,000 requests for services went unmet because programs lacked resources. In the preceding year, 1,696 staff had been laid off or positions left unfilled, and hundreds of programs had to reduce or eliminate vital services due to funding cuts.

“FVPSA’s reach is stunted by stagnated funded,” said Gandy. “Three women are killed every day in this nation by a current or former partner. We can’t allow a gap in funding to be the reason why a survivor was not able to flee. There is no excuse for FVSPA’s funding shortfall, especially when survivors are being turned away from services.”

The act is authorized at $175 million annually but is consistently underfunded by at least $40 million. Many FVPSA-funded programs struggle to keep their doors open.

“On FVPSA 30th anniversary, we will celebrate the countless lives saved and transformed by this cornerstone of the federal government’s response to domestic violence,” said Gandy. “We will also call upon our leaders to help fulfill the promise of FVPSA by fully funding it.”