May 10, 2018
The budget recommendation released today by the Senate Ways & Means Committee calls for an increase of $3million over last year for programs and services to address gender-based violence. These new funds would allow local rape crisis centers and domestic violence programs to hire additional advocates that have the training and expertise to work with people who experience abuse and to support communities impacted by such violence.
Maureen Gallagher, Policy Director for Jane Doe Inc., commented, "An additional $3million above the current fiscal year budget will make an enormous difference in the ability of local rape crisis centers and domestic violence programs to meet the needs of survivors in communities throughout the Commonwealth. We thank the members of Senate Ways & Means Committee for recognizing the life-saving role that these programs play every single day."
These additional funds will help close the gap in access and availability of services and support have long existed. In recent months, programs have experienced an increase in requests for services. The #MeToo movement has exposed only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the prevalence and pervasiveness of sexual violence. Yesterday's release of the CDC's 2015 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) report pointed to the widespread nature of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence. Among the key findings are:
- Approximately 21% of women (25.5 million) and nearly 3% of men (2.8 million) in the U.S. reported completed or attempted rape at some point in their lifetime.
- Nearly 1 in 6 women, or 19.1 million, and about 1 in 17 men, or 6.4 million, in the U.S. were victims of stalking at some point in their lifetime.
- About 1 in 4 women (29.2 million) and 1 in 10 men (11.8 million) in the U.S. experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime and reported some form of IPV-related impact, (e.g. being fearful, concerned for safety, injury, need for medical care).
- Across the majority of violence types measured, most first time victimization occurred prior to age 25 (71% of female victims and 56% of male victims), and many victims first experienced violence before age 18 (26% of female victims and 15% of male victims).
Data also point to the disproportionate impact of sexual and domestic violence on communities of color and people who identify as LGBQ/T. According to the CDC, 47% of transgender people reported experiencing sexual violence in their lifetime. Current or former intimate (romantic) partners commit 14% of all homicides in the US, with over 70% of the victims being female and disproportionately women of color. Factors such as immigration status, mental and physical disabilities, limited income, and rural locations also post other barriers in terms of accessing resources and support.
Current state funding supports a range of rape, sexual violence and domestic violence prevention and victim services and community-based responses, including: emergency and transitional residential services for victim/survivors and their children; rape crisis center survivor services and prevention; community-based domestic violence services, culturally specific sexual and domestic violence services; intimate partner abuse education programs; and supervised visitation and trauma services for children who witness violence.
Gallagher added, "This budget recommendation underscores the value of sexual and domestic violence advocates who work every day to support survivors in their journey. Guided by the voices and lived experiences of survivors, these advocates offer a life-line to the resources and support that victims need and deserve."
JDI will continue to advocate with the legislature to ensure that this funding is included in the final FY19 budget, as well as around its other priority issues including provisions supportive of immigrants and economic justice for all who live in the Commonwealth
Jane Doe Inc. and our 56 member programs are available to comment on the impact of this budget recommendation on survivors and communities. Please contact Toni Troop, Director of Communications and Development at Jane Doe Inc. at 617-557-1807 or firstname.lastname@example.org.