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Iowa View: Why undo success for abuse victims?

The Legislature chose to cut funds to domestic violence and sexual assault services by 25 percent on April 13. A program that has been a model for the entire country could be decimated. What’s more, the funding decrease abandons a 2013 bipartisan commitment the Legislature made to survivors.

In 2012-2013, with the Iowa Crime Victim Assistance Division, we conducted a review of services. ...These changes have been extremely successful.

We’ve seen an approximate 66 percent increase in victims served from 2013 to the present. The number of survivors of sexual assault served has increased from 4,000 to 10,000. Victims of sexual assault now know that help is available. They are less likely to experience long-term adverse consequences as opposed to those who were not helped. Youth who are sexually assaulted can now access assistance in schools and colleges. Victims of domestic violence can move quickly into permanent housing, rather than spending time in emergency shelter. Survivors now move more quickly from shelter to permanent housing under restructured shelter and domestic violence programs.

So why undo success? Why decrease services to high school and college students who have been sexually assaulted? Why deprive victims of domestic violence the chance to quickly find safe and secure housing for themselves and their children?

Beth Barnhill is executive director at the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and Laurie Schipper is executive director of the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

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