The SheHawk: Domestic violence takes a cut

Samantha Durham, Assistant Opinion Editor

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By now I am sure almost everyone has heard a little bit about President Trump’s proposed budget. If you haven’t, let me summarize it for you: Cuts, cuts and more cuts. Pretty much every organization involved in government funding is getting their funds slashed and people are pretty upset about it from what I can tell. However, for me it’s not so much about the organizations themselves losing money, it’s more about how that loss is going to affect the people that rely on those organizations.

One group that is going to be hurt by these potential budget cuts are victims of domestic violence. According to The Huffington Post, the Department of Justice will be seeing their funds reduced by 4% while the Department of Health and Human Services will be seeing a 18% cut. Both of these programs provide support towards victims of domestic violence.

The Huffington Post also reported that the Violence Against Women Act, which aids in funding training for law enforcement, specialized services, and education and prevention services will have less money to run those programs. Alongside the Violence Against Women Act is the Family Violence Prevention and Service Act, the source of funding for domestic violence shelters will be cut down as well.

Officials within the National Network to End Domestic Violence predict that if these budget cuts take effect, roughly 260,000 less people will have access to shelters or support services each year. Quite a devastating thing to consider, don’t you think?

According to The Huffington Post, about one in four women living in the United States are victims of serious physical abuse by a partner within their lifetime, while roughly three women each day are murdered by someone they married or dated.

If that isn’t enough to begin with, President Trump plans to also cut a multitude of programs that support domestic violence victims living in poverty such as the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Without the assistance of these programs, some may be forced to return to their abusers, even if it is threat to their safety and wellbeing.

To top it all off, Trump also plans to slash the funding for the Legal Services Corporation. This is a nonprofit organization that offers civil legal assistance to low-income Americans for free. It is estimated that 70% of this program’s users are women and a third of the cases closed by this program relate to family law.

This program offers women with aid in gaining custody of their children, child support and protective orders from their abusers and without the funding much of these aids will disappear. Women will be left to struggle against abusive partners and risk not only their own safety, but the safety of their children as well.

The Huffington Post reported that legal services were the second most requested service by domestic violence organizations. Legal representation for those that are victims of domestic violence is important because they are more likely to be granted protective orders and end up experiencing less violence afterwards.

It’s a shame that we may see the funding for those in need disappear. So many women need help in protecting themselves and their families and without the needed funding they will have less resources to escape their abusive situation. I am writing this article for all of the victims of domestic violence. If no one speaks up for them, they will continue to live in fear. I hope that by writing this I have brought some awareness to the situation.

If you disagree with these cuts, make it known. Talk about it, not only because taking away resources from those need it is wrong but because it might make the world of difference to someone who is without hope. If we band together and raise awareness for what these budget cuts will do to those in need, maybe people will think twice before approving it.