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Guest Opinion: Keep funding for victim services a top priority

On Wednesday, the justice systems appropriations subcommittee proposed its fiscal 2018 budget, which included a proposed nearly 26 percent decrease in funding for victim services (sexual violence, domestic violence, and shelter services). This represents a total decrease in funding from $6.7 million this year to $5 million in fiscal ’18. As the executive director of the Rape Victim Advocacy Program, this news deeply saddens and angers me and my colleagues.

We have come too far as a society with regards to shining an honest light on sexual violence. We are finally seeing this epidemic as a human-rights issue and improving access to support for all survivors, particularly here in Iowa. Restructuring of statewide victim services in 2013 was a collaborative effort that would not have been possible without the support of the Iowa Legislature. The effect of the changes has been a 125 percent increase in the number of sexual-assault survivors served in Iowa since 2013. As a result, Iowa now serves as a national model for service delivery to other coalitions across the country. We have come too far — and we have too far yet to go — to take such a drastic step backwards.

— Adam Robinson

RVAP executive director

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