Sequestration Would Pose Safety Risk for Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Victims in South Carolina
The looming sequestration and federal budget cuts have many advocates and victims in South Carolina worried. These cuts would directly impact sexual assault and domestic violence advocacy programs in our state, and their ability to serve victims.
It is anticipated that sequestration cuts would impact the following programs:
- $20 million in cuts to Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) funding. The White House has estimated that this would result in approximately $99,000 in cuts to South Carolina, and approximately 400 less victims being served
- $6 million in cuts to the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) funding. This is the funding that provides safe shelters and many other domestic violence services in our state
- $37 million in Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). VOCA funding in our state provides necessary crisis intervention and support services for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. While we are unsure at this time what the exact impact on South Carolina might be, any cut in this funding stream would be very detrimental to victims.
In just one year, domestic violence programs in South Carolina provided shelter to approximately 2,000 adults and 1,300 children; non-shelter services (counseling, support, court advocacy) to 12,000 adult victims and 6,000 children; and answered 28,000 hotline calls. Sexual assault programs provided services to almost 5,000 victims and 2,500 secondary victims (spouses, friends, family members), provided support to 800 rape victims in the hospital, and answered close to 5,000 hotline calls.
As the state ranking second in the nation for the rate of women murdered by men, and with sexual assault rates surpassing national averages for over 30 years, South Carolina is in desperate need of funding to provide services to victims and their families, and to help reduce these rates. We are hopeful that our elected representatives will reach a solution to avoid these devastating cuts.