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"We need to wake people up to the attitudes and actions that continue to keep victims at risk and our cities, towns and cultural communities unsafe." ~ Paulo Pinto, MPA, Executive Director, MAPS - Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers

Survivors Falling Through the Budget Gap

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                             Contact: Toni Troop
April 1, 2013                                                                      617-557-1807,  ttroop@janedoe.org

Survivors Falling Through the Budget Gap:
Sexual and Domestic Violence Programs Push
for Funding Life-Saving Services


Inadequate funding has caused gaps in services that put hundreds, if not thousands, of Massachusetts victims of sexual and domestic violence at risk.  In a recent survey, during a 24-hour period, 443 requests for services at a domestic violence program were unmet.  According to the statewide domestic violence hotline, SafeLink, only 35% of victims seeking emergency domestic violence housing found space at a shelter.  Similarly, sexual violence programs report that requests for help continue to exceed capacity, resulting in waiting lists for support groups, counseling and other services.  As awareness of these issues continues to rise and barriers to access (such as shame, guilt and isolation) are removed, demand for services is bound to increase even more.

What:   Jane Doe Inc. – the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence –  and hundreds of advocates converge on Beacon Hill to advocate for funding that supports the life-saving and life-changing services provided by community-based sexual and domestic violence programs.

When:   Thursday, April 4, 2013 starting at 11:00 AM

Who:     Jane Doe Inc. Executive Director Mary R. Lauby will lead advocates from JDI’s membership of nearly 60 community based sexual and domestic violence programs from across the Commonwealth.

Why:       Community based advocates for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault can and do make a difference – often a life-saving difference. Contact with a community sexual violence program provides essential support and resources in the immediate aftermath of an assault or years later.  Contact with a trained domestic violence advocate is a proven protective factor against the violence escalating to a homicide.  

JDI and its member organizations will take this message to the legislators as part of the coalition’s annual advocacy day.  Advocates and survivors will share stories with their legislators to demonstrate how services have been shredded and why funds are needed to rebuild their capacity to serve the 2000 victims who seek help every day in Massachusetts.

Mary R. Lauby, Executive Director at Jane Doe Inc., stresses the effectiveness of these programs and the important effects of their work not only for survivors but for society. “Local programs must be funded commensurate with the enormous responsibility with which they are entrusted,” Lauby said. “Sexual and domestic violence programs are essential pillars of our response to the profound personal and community impact of sexual and domestic violence."

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