FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
DES MOINES—On March 28, 2017, Governor Terry Branstad’s office released a revised budget recommendation for FY2017, FY2018, and FY2019 as part of a memorandum to legislative leaders. In this iteration of the governor’s budget, more than $6 million has been appropriated to victim service grants over the course of FY2017 – FY2019. Victim service grants provide crucial support and resources to survivors of sexual assault in all 99 counties in Iowa.
“We appreciate Governor Terry Branstad’s support for survivors of sexual violence,” says Beth Barnhill, Executive Director for the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault (IowaCASA). “If our legislature accepts this budget as is, it will provide much-needed financial support to more than 25 programs serving survivors throughout the state. We look forward to working with the governor and his administration to make victim services a priority in the upcoming years. We hope the legislature will do the same by supporting this budget and by continuing to work with us on the Sexual Assault Civil Protective Order bills (SF401 & HF375) that would allow survivors to petition for restraining orders from those who cause harm.”
In 2013, IowaCASA was part of a collaborative restructuring of victim services effort that would not have been possible without the support of the state legislature. As a result, Iowa now serves as a national model for service delivery to other coalitions across the country. Since 2013, Iowa programs have seen a 125% increase in the number of sexual assault survivors served because of how programs and services were restructured.
“Any kind of significant cut to victim service programs creates immediate and harmful consequences for survivors,” Barnhill adds. “A reduction in state funds limits access to services and options for those who need it most. That’s why it’s so important for legislators to support Governor Branstad’s revised budget recommendation. These funds, if enacted, will have a direct impact on survivors, their families, and their communities. We hope the state legislature will do the right thing and stand with survivors.”