Is California Next?


Desperate times call for desperate measures. Or at least that’s what Georgia legislators are using to defend their decision to completely eliminate state funding to battered women shelters. While that may sound extreme, I wouldn’t be surprised if other states soon started to follow suit.

Legislators in Georgia are prepared to eliminate all state money designated for domestic violence programs and instead replace the money with federal funds. Advocates are worried, and rightfully so, that this switch will severely limit the services domestic violence shelters can provide.

Governor Nathan Deal is attempting to use $4.4 million in federal welfare money- as allocated through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)- to fund domestic violence shelters. Though he has come under fire for this strategy, the budget has already passed in both the House and the Senate.

While the Governor may argue that using TANF money is a satisfactory solution, in reality it is an exclusionary policy that will prevent a large population from acquiring life-saving services. TANF restrictions prevent the use of the program’s money for services to single adults without children, a group that currently makes up an average of 31% of those who seek domestic violence services in the state. Many victims served by sexual assault centers may not qualify to benefit from TANF dollars based on their income and family status.

Further exacerbating the situation is that TANF money is not a guarantee. There’s a strong possibility that it may be decreased by the federal government, thus jeopardizing all services funded by the program. As the needs of domestic violence and sexual assault victims rise, now is not the time to displace women and children who often have nowhere else to go.

There’s no doubt that states across the union are experiencing massive budget shortfalls, but cutting the lifelines that many women depend on for peace and safety is not the solution.

To ensure that California does not suffer the same fate, please tell our Senators and Representatives that you value the safety of women and children and that they should too!

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  • earlrichards

    Former Governor Schwarzenegger has to be commended for making a very wise, sound decision in restoring funding for battered women shelters. Without a shelter for a battered women to go to, she could be severely beaten or killed. This is a very important point that ex-Governor Schwarzenegger recognized. Most men are bigger than women. This is a reverse decision for ex-Governor Schwarzenegger and this decision shows that the former Governor has a flexible mind to what is right.   Well done!   Former Governor Arnold A. Schwarzenegger!   You have saved the lives of many battered women. If a husband has plans to murder his wife, beware, the “Terminator will be back.”

  • ack

    This is despicable. TANF money is often used to supplement budgets in domestic violence programs, but relying on it completely is inappropriate and dangerous. The restrictions stated in the article will create concrete barriers to women trying to access services. Survivors are having a difficult time finding jobs that help them rebuild their lives, resulting in longer shelter stays. They’re not divorcing their abusers because they can’t afford court costs.

     

    Limiting who can receive services is not only misguided, but fiscally irresponsible. Providing services to domestic violence victims actually saves states money. Secondary prevention (working to prevent a similar crime from taking place again) saves on future criminal justice and health care costs, among other state funded services.