In Missouri on September 12, 2012, 2,123 victims found safety in emergency shelters or transitional housing across the state. Of the 2,123 served on that day Hope House provided services to 131 of them. Missouri programs were able to provide 672 adults and children with non-residential assistance including groups and individual counseling. Hope House provided services to 45 of those 672. That same day, 494 hotline calls were answered, 12 were made to Hope House. Unfortunately across the state of Missouri, 416 people were turned away due to lack of capacity, 60 of them from Hope House. The report shows that 57% of unmet requests were for emergency shelter and transitional housing.
The national numbers are astounding to comprehend; 35,323 victims across the country received safe shelter, 29,001 received non-residential services and 20,821 hotline calls were answered and there were 10,471 unmet requests for services. Reports from the other programs were consistent with what we are seeing at Hope House, the economy has definitely impacted the number of people seeking services and resources in the community are down. The need continues to be overwhelming across our country. We have also seen numbers of program services reduced due to programs having to cut back on services due to funding shortages.
· The report revealed that reduced funding for domestic violence services means that programs are unable to help survivors with shelter, attain legal help, or leave abusive partners. The economic conditions of the past few years have had a significant impact on domestic violence programs. “Cutting funds to domestic violence programs means that victims have fewer places to turn,” “It is impossible to hold offenders accountable and provide safe havens for victims with reduced funding for services and shelters. Budget cuts at the local, state, and federal level are creating increased danger to victims and their children.”
· Additionally, the pending funding cuts resulting from the sequester also worry victim advocates. According to recent analysis, sequestration will result in approximately 70,000 fewer victims getting help from domestic violence programs and approximately 36,000 fewer victims having access to protection orders, crisis intervention and counseling, sexual assault services, hospital-based advocacy, transitional housing services, and help with civil legal matters.
· As programs are cutting staff, reducing hours, and cutting back on services due to lack of funds, the true harm is to domestic violence victims. “Across the country, domestic violence programs are working harder than ever to help victims of abuse,” added Gandy. “But we also know that, across the board, funding for victim services is dwindling while the demand is climbing.”
So we continue to be challenged by the ever increasing need, and we will continue to rise above the challenge and meet the needs of those we serve. Together we can make a difference and we will continue to work hard on behalf of survivors and work to end the violence.