Rape crisis centers and other victim services programs were told Friday to expect a 19.8% cut in crucial funding.
Funding cuts begin on Friday, October 1st, leaving programs with almost no time to address the shortfall. Programs face lay-offs of counselors, shelter staff, advocates, crime victim witness coordinators, and other experts who help survivors of crime.
Advocates for crime victims have been warning for over a year that the State faced a potential crisis in federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding. The General Assembly placed limits on the State’s ability to cut these grants, but the decision of whether to fill in the remaining gap is up to the Governor. The notice to victim services providers stated that the Governor was “exploring all possible measures” to address the funding shortfall.
These funding cuts affect over 120 programs including rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters, child advocates and child advocacy centers, anti-sex trafficking programs (including for child victims of sex trafficking), victim-witness coordinators in State’s Attorneys Offices, programs for homicide survivors, and other programs helping victims and survivors of crime.
Demand for services from rape survivors and victims of abuse have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Survivors are dealing with increasing economic instability, homelessness, job loss, mental health needs, amplified trauma, and isolation. Experts report that the intensity of violence has intensified and the complexity of cases have increased.
MCASA is working with its sister coalition, the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, and other victim services providers to help call attention to this crisis.
Help support victim services by contacting Governor Hogan, General Assembly leadership, and your state senators and delegates today.
Email Governor Hogan
President Bill Ferguson
Speaker Adrienne A. Jones
Chair Guy Guzzone
Chair Maggie McIntosh
Bridge the gap and #supportsurvivors. Rape crisis centers and other victim services are essential. @govlarryhogan stop the funding cuts!