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Sequester could cut more than $400,000 in the fight against Domestic Violence in New York State

Posted at: 03/01/2013 11:21 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion

The Violence Against Women Act has been in affect since 1994. The United States House of Representatives authorized to re-new the act yesterday, but the good news for victims of domestic violence may be short lived. The sequester is expected to cut $20 million in funding for victims nationwide. The effects will be felt through out the state, and right here in Rochester.

This morning, dozens gathered at The College at Brockport for the 14th annual legislative breakfast on domestic violence.

“Her very worse fears are realized. For those of you who don't know how the story ends, her husband Vince shot Amy in the head at close range, killing her instantly,” said one supported of the Violence Against Women Act.

It's stories like these that pushed congress to re-new the Violence Against Women Act.  

“Funding for non residential services should not be taken out of the New York State budget. There are more people like me with no where to turn and no answers,” said a victim of domestic violence.

On the heels of this event,  news of sequester cuts threaten some of the most vulnerable people in our community. The state could lose more than $400-thousand in funding that aid victims of domestic violence. That means 1,600 abuse victims won't receive much needed help.

The numbers trouble those who see the affects of domestic violence every day, like Jaime Saunders, the CEO of Alternatives for Battered Women.

“Its an across the board issue, it's a community health issue. So not having all of these supports in place, it puts everyone at risk.”

Saunders says, the sequester cuts will hurt the support system created for victims of domestic violence.

“It impacts the tools that first responders have that law enforcement and the legal community. Then directly to our agency our funding is tied and we would be impacted,” said Saunders.

In the end, Saunders says domestic violence doesn't care about budgets, it's a real issue that wont go away.

“We're talking about life and death issues. Without having the proper support, without have agencies like ABW there to answer the calls, with out having the tools that law enforcement and the community needs, we are putting lives at risk.”

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter was in town today for the legislative breakfast on domestic violence at The College at Brockport.

She praised the house vote and she was actually an original author of the legislation. It now will extend protection to all victims of domestic and dating violence regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

That bill now waits for President Obama’s signature.