SAFE, a merger of Austin Children’s Shelter and SafePlace, today issued the following statement following press reports that cuts are being proposed to federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) grants:
We can say with absolute certainty that more women will be abused, and more women will die from abuse, if the proposed cuts to VAWA grants go into effect.
VAWA grants support those in our community who suffered terrible violence in the form of rape, domestic violence, stalking, and dating violence. This year alone, these grants funded $1 million worth of SAFE intervention and prevention programs and services.
Austin suffers from VAWA cuts
Here are a few examples of the direct, immediate impacts on SAFE’s ability to serve survivors of violence and abuse if these cuts become a reality:
- Without PlanetSafe, Austin would have no supervised child visitation and exchange facility for families who need third-party supervision due to domestic violence. We started PlanetSafe after overhearing a courthouse conversation between two battered women: “Exchange your kids at Wal-Mart instead of McDonald’s. Wal-Mart has cameras that you can use as evidence when he hits you.”
- Without SAFE’s supportive housing initiatives, victims of family violence and their children would have fewer housing options when leaving shelter. Too often, this means making a choice between homelessness and going back to the person who abused them. We remember a woman who chose homelessness and, without the safety of a home, she was raped while her 2-year-old child watched.
- Without SAFE’s Expect Respect Manor Collaborative, teens in violent homes would never learn that love doesn’t have to hurt, and our Strong Start program could not prevent child abuse in at-risk families.
- Without SAFE’s Disability Services, we would no longer be able to provide abuse prevention for people with disabilities who are twice as likely to experience abuse as are people without disabilities.
VAWA is vital
VAWA is a critical source of funds for violence intervention and prevention. It helps people escaping horrific violence get services to keep them safe in the last place they should expect: at home. It funds proven programs that prevent abuse. It is not an example of waste, fraud, or abuse; VAWA fights dangerous and life threatening abuse.
Our goal at SAFE is simple: Stop Abuse For Everyone. We adamantly oppose these cuts and call on our federal legislators to do the same. We encourage everyone to contact your representatives and senators as soon as possible if you agree.
The uncertainty around VAWA grants and other key sources of federal funds for the work we do makes your financial support critical for the survivors of violence and abuse. Please consider supporting our work by donating to SAFE.