Prioritize Meaningful Investment In Critically Underfunded Domestic Violence Services

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The needs of victims of domestic violence in New York are significant, we must affirm our collective commitment to ending domestic violence by investing in these vital programs. No one asking for shelter or other domestic violence services should ever be turned away for lack of resources. Quite simply, if we are not able to reach this goal, preventable tragedies that are happening across our state will continue.

The preliminary 2016 New York Domestic Violence Census[1]  numbers are staggering. On the day of the 2016 Census 100% of domestic violence programs in our state participated.  For the second consecutive year, New York State is #1 in the country regarding reported demand for domestic violence services. Here are just a few of the numbers:

  •  In one day, 6,868 victims were served, of which 2,761 received non-residential services
  • 1,390 requests for services went unmet, because of critical funding and staffing shortages – an increase of 45% in one year
  • Nearly 200 staff positions were reduced or eliminated in 2015 and 2016, most of which were direct service advocates.[2]

In light of these staggering statistics, we ask that the Governor and Legislature provide significant investments in domestic violence services in the FY 2017-2018 New York State budget as follows:

  • Address long standing gaps in operational funding as a result of flat or reduced state investment by:
    • Providing $6 million in TANF funding for non-residential domestic violence services; and
    •  Providing at least a 3% increase in the domestic violence shelter per diem rate.
  • This year’s executive budget proposal intends to move $27 million in federal Title XX funds away from domestic violence and adult protective services, by mandating these funds be used for child care programs. It is equally important to fund child care services. However, this should not be done on the backs of programs that provide domestic violence and adult protective services. We cannot afford for a single penny to be diverted away from domestic violence programs that provide life-saving services.
  • Create a primary prevention funding stream for domestic violence services in New York by establishing a $17.25 million fund that will be dispersed through coordinated support to NYSCADV and local domestic violence programs statewide. Research has shown the cost of a single homicide can be well over $17.25 million - we are requesting funds at this level to demonstrate New York State’s commitment to preventing the far-reaching tragedies of domestic violence homicides in the coming years[3].
  • Stabilize and increase funding for critical civil legal services for domestic violence victims statewide in order to address the high demand for civil legal services by survivors of domestic violence.
  • Provide $4.5 million in funding for local domestic violence programs to provide support to colleges and universities that the recent Enough Is Enough campus policy mandates for stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence services (to compliment the $4.5 million already provided in support for rape crisis programs for sexual assault initiatives).

[1] National Network to End Domestic Violence (2016) Domestic Violence Counts – DRAFT New York Summary.

[2] National Network to End Domestic Violence, 2015 Domestic Violence Counts: A 24-Hour Census of Domestic Violence Shelters and Services DV Counts

[3] Delisi, Kosloski, Sween, et. al. 2010. Murder by Numbers: Monetary Costs Imposed by a Sample of Homicide Offenders. The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology. 21(4). P 501-503.