Earlier I posted a press release by the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance detailing the proposed budgets released by the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. There are significant differences between the House and Senate proposals and we need everyone’s help to bridge the gap and protect funding for domestic violence services.
These areas of funding also effect art therapists who work in sexual abuse treatment centers and domestic violence shelters. Funds to support these programs also fund services provided by therapists and art therapy programs. Help us vote to keep funding for these valuable services for victims of violence.
The House Appropriations Committee is recommending a budget that includes significant cuts for domestic violence services (31%).
The Senate Finance Committee is recommending a budget that minimizes cuts for domestic violence services (7.5% ) and also includes an increase in the marriage license fee to $45 to provide funding for services to children and youth.
The Action Alliance is calling on its membership and supporting community members to ask our state Senators and Delegates to support an increase in the marriage license fee to preserve the opportunity to provide services to children and youth exposed to sexual and domestic violence without sacrificing services to adults victims of domestic violence services.
Each body will be voting on their respective budgets on Thursday, and then a conference committee will be appointed to try to resolve the differences and come up with one budget.
They need to hear from you that there is a revenue source in the Senate Budget to protect funding for domestic violence services.
Following are some steps that you can take:
1. Contact your state Senator:
- Call your state Senator, express gratitude for the Senate Finance Committee’s support of domestic violence programs, and ask him/her to support the recommended budget of the Senate Finance Committee who worked hard to protect domestic violence program funding and supported the budget amendment for children’s services.
- If you do not know who your state Senator is, go to: http://conview.state.va.us/whosmy.nsf/main?openform.
- For Senator Capitol office phone numbers: http://sov.state.va.us/SenatorDB.nsf/$$Viewtemplate+for+WMembershipHome?OpenForm
- Send a personal letter (it can be brief) to your Senator immediately after your call to follow-up and reiterate in writing the need for them to support the Senate Finance Committee’s proposed budget and increase in the marriage license fee.
2. Contact your state Delegate
- Call your state Delegate ask him/her to support an increase in the marriage license fee, making it $45, to restore the proposed cuts in the House Appropriations Committee recommended budget (31% reduction) and create the opportunity to provide services to children and youth without sacrificing services to adults victims.
- If you do not know who your state Delegate is, go to http://conview.state.va.us/whosmy.nsf/main?openform.
- For Delegate Capitol office phone numbers: http://dela.state.va.us/dela/MemBios.nsf/MWebsiteTL?OpenView
3. Contact anyone you know who is concerned about the safety of domestic violence survivors and their children, and ask them to also contact their Senators and their Delegates.
4. Contact your local domestic violence program and ask how you can support their action steps in your community.
5. After taking action, please let us know and share with us how it went by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or making a post to the 1,000 Grandmothers Campaign on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/1000-Grandmothers-Campaign/275846239928?ref=mf
If you have any questions or concerns about this information, please free to contact the Action Alliance Co-Directors, Jeanine Beiber or Kristi VanAudenhove at email@example.com or 804-377-0335.
Thank you for your support!
Carol Olson, Governing Body Member and Executive Director of the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault