Some domestic violence and sexual assault programs in Iowa may be gone next year, the victim of budget cuts.
The cuts are forcing programs all over the state to combine into six regions. The QCA region includes Davenport, Clinton, Muscatine, Burlington, Keokuk, and Iowa City.
There are eight sexual assault and domestic violence programs in these cities that may have to go down to three by next year.
“There are hundreds of thousands of victims that are going to be affected by this change,” Clinton YWCA Executive Director Lori Freudenberg says.
She says the domestic violence and sexual assault programs at the Clinton YWCA help up to 600 people a year who are going through these situations, providing shelter, medical and legal assistance, and counseling for free.
“We’re always full, sometimes we have to turn people away,” Freudenberg says.
The Clinton YWCA was notified last month at least $1.1M would be cut from state programs. For Clinton, they’re expecting to lose about $256,000 a year, if not all of their state funding.
“We know the amount of funding we receive will be cut,” Freudenberg says, “The amount of funding we receive for this fiscal year has already been cut.”
Now program directors have to figure out a way to whittle down eight programs across six cities down to three. That means one sexual assault program, one domestic violence program and one shelter for the whole region, from Clinton down to Keokuk.
“We have victims we know will not travel outside the city of Clinton, so they’ll probably continue to live in a violent situation,” Freudenberg says.
From now until next year’s budget is decided, they’re planning to hold town halls in October to get the word out and want everyone to contact their legislators about this.
“This is a potential problem we’re going to see within the next year, and we’ve got to do something about it,” Freudenberg says.
They’re hoping it will be enough to make a difference when Iowa lawmakers go back in session to decide the budget in January.
“We’ve got to be realistic about it, but yet I will always hold on for hope,” Freudenberg says.
There are 28 programs throughout the state that would be cut back to 18 with the consolidation. The cuts will take effect by summer 2013.
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