Lariat Letters: Keep Family Abuse Centers Funded

We would like to bring to your readers’ attention the epidemic of domestic violence in Texas and the need to continue funding of local domestic violence programs.

In one 24-hour period in the state of Texas, 3,758 domestic violence victims found refuge in emergency shelters or transitional housing provided by local domestic violence programs.

Over 2,303 adults and children received non-residential assistance and services, including counseling, legal advocacy, and children’s support.

Almost 2,000 hot line calls were answered, providing victims with support, information, safety planning and resources.

This is over 82 hot line calls every hour. Local programs, such as Waco Family Abuse Center (FAC), exist to eliminate domestic violence in Central Texas by sheltering victims of domestic violence and by preventing abuse from occurring through intervention and education.

As communities in Texas continue to experience job losses and decreased community resources, local domestic violence programs have seen an 86 percent higher demand for services.

Over 60 percent of FAC’s budget comes from government funding. The federal government has authorized $175 million, shared by the nation’s 2,000 local domestic violence agencies, through the Family Violence Prevention & Service Act.

This national funding is in jeopardy without a budget for 2011.

If FAC loses this funding, nearly 300 children, women and men in the Central Texas area would not be served.

FAC staff would be reduced, crippling our ability to serve survivors in the area, especially those in the rural counties.

We are asking your readers call their Congressman or Congresswoman and urge them to preserve current funding levels for domestic violence and sexual assault programs.

Members of Congress need to hear that domestic violence and sexual assault programs are important to their constituents.

— Pagrita Fuller, Yung Hyun, and Pam Stover
Masters of Social Work students at Baylor’s School of Social Work.