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House Appropriations Committee Cuts DV Funds by 50% - $2.375 million

Budget cuts will endanger the lives of women and children in Missouri

Rose Brooks Center is surprised by the unexpected announcement on Tuesday afternoon domestic violence services in the state will be cut by 50%, a loss of 2.375 million dollars worth of life-saving services. 

This extraordinary cut to the Governor’s budget—where no cuts were proposed—came as a surprise in an amendment by Committee Chairman Rep. David Sater (R-Cassville). The Chairman’s amendment included nearly $32 million in reductions to DSS programs and services for Fiscal Year 2011.

Rep. Slater said the budget had to be cut by reductions in services that are “not essential” and “not critical”. 

Last year alone, Rose Brooks Center provided over 49,000 safe nights to women and children fleeing abusive homes.  In addition to emergency shelter, these budget cuts would affect the crisis hotline which received over 4,600 calls, vital counseling services for women and children, and legal advocacy. 

“These budget cuts will cripple our ability to serve these women and children desperately seeking safety,” said Susan Miller, CEO of Rose Brooks Center. “To call these budget cuts “non critical” is not only absurd, it’s dangerous.  Thousands of women are killed each year at the hands of their abuser; these cuts will endanger the lives of women and children in every community in Missouri.”

Due to the weak economy, Rose Brooks Center has already experienced losses in local, city and state funding cuts between 8 – 20% in a projected estimated revenue loss of $266,000 for this fiscal year.  Despite these budget restraints, Rose Brooks Center provided services to a record-breaking number of women and children. 

Rose Brooks Center is the leader in domestic violence programs and services, supporting over 2,000 women and children each week and providing over 49,000 safe nights annually to families escaping abusive homes. 

RAISE YOUR VOICE AND TAKE ACTION -

WE MUST CONTACT HOUSE MEMBERS IN HUGE NUMBERS TO GET THE FUNDING RESTORED
· All members of the Missouri House of Representatives need to hear from those who work in domestic violence programs, who support those programs, and who are committed to ending violence against women.

· Advocates need to activate their networks of supporters—staff, volunteers, community partners, friends and family—to take a stand to support life-saving domestic violence services.

· If you are on Facebook, post a message to have all of your friends contact their Representatives—extend the network of DV supporters far and wide.

· Contact your local newspaper to let them know what the cuts would mean to your program and the communities you serve.

MESSAGE TO LAWMAKERS
· Domestic violence services are critical and life-saving.

· Cutting domestic violence state funding by 50 percent will endanger women and children in every community in Missouri.

· I am asking you to take a stand for abused women and children—cast the votes to restore these essential services for women and children who are victims of violence in their own homes.

TELL YOUR STORY: THIS IS WHAT A 50 PERCENT REDUCTION WILL MEAN TO YOUR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROGRAM
1. Tell your Representatives what it would mean in terms of service reductions and the numbers of people you will not be able to serve if your DSS contract is cut by half.

2. Be specific—these are the numbers of women and children who won’t be given safe shelter, these are the numbers of bednights cut, these are the days of hotline services that won’t be available, these are the services we will have to cut, these are the numbers of those who won’t be helped.

3. Ask for a commitment to be a champion and restore the funding—Ask the Representative to TAKE A STAND TO SAVE LIVES.

HOW TO CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS:
If you are part of a domestic violence program, contact all Representatives from your program’s full service region.

· Go to www.moga.mo.gov and click on “Legislator Look-up”. Enter your zip code to find your legislator.

· For an alphabetical listing of Representatives, go to http://www.house.mo.gov/member.aspx

REMEMBER—THERE IS STRENGTH IN NUMBERS. WE ARE POWERFUL.

THE LIVES OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN MATTER. MAKE THE PHONES RING.

WE CAN DO THIS. WE MUST DO THIS. WE WILL DO THIS.


IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS:
Call the MCADSV office at 1-888-666-1911.