Urgent Action Alert
Hello CCASA Community,
I’m writing today to share with you a message we received from our national partners, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV), to provide you with the most recent information we have concerning an article published last Thursday in the Hill that indicated the President’s budget will call for dramatic cuts including the elimination of VAWA grants:
“At the Department of Justice, the blueprint calls for eliminating the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Violence Against Women Grants and the Legal Services Corporation and for reducing funding for its Civil Rights and its Environment and Natural Resources divisions.”
This is obviously cause for real concern and a situation we are taking very seriously. At the outset, here are some important things to remember:
- The President’s budget is a recommendation and will not be out until later this spring.
- Congress crafts the budget and is under no obligation to follow the President’s recommendations. For example, President Obama’s budgets recommended the elimination of the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant, and Congress always maintained or increased funding.
3. We have broad and bipartisan support for our programs in Congress.
Now Is The Time For Action, Not Panic!
What we are doing now: Working together closely with NAESV, the National Task Force, and all of our allies, who are preparing updated advocacy materials including results from the NAESV funding survey, and planning meetings right away with key appropriations staff members.
What you can do now: Reach out to your Senators’ and Congress members’ offices to tell them how concerned you are about this, how committed we are to advocate for survivors, and the importance of VAWA programs in your communities. If you have good staff relationships, set up a phone call right away. Prepare and share talking points about the effectiveness of these programs.
Federal Members of Congress
(Click on the name of your elected member for their contact information)
U.S. Senators for Colorado:
U.S. Representatives for Colorado:
Congresswoman Diana DeGette-(D), Congressional District 1
Congressman Jared Polis-(D), Congressional District 2
Congressman Scott Tipton-(R), Congressional District 3
Congressman Ken Buck-(R), Congressional District 4
Congressman Doug Lamborn-(R), Congressional District 5
Congressman Mike Coffman-(R), Congressional District 6
Congressman Ed Perlmutter-(D), Congressional District 7
Sample Talking Points For Contacting Your Federal Members Of Congress
- The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) runs 25 grant programs created through the 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), in an effort to reduce domestic violence, sexual assault, and dating violence. With a budget of $480 million, the cost per American to sustain this essential programming is $1.48.
- VAWA helps fund services to aid victims of crimes like sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking, and to hold offenders accountable. The act is primarily about safety, not just for victims, but for entire communities as well.
- In Colorado, VAWA helps fund rape crisis and domestic violence centers, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, sexual assault nurse examiners, transitional housing, campus safety programs, prevention education, legal advocacy, and training for law enforcement and medical providers. For Colorado’s rural communities, VAWA funds a traveling program that teaches local emergency rooms best practices in collecting rape kits.
- In Colorado, one in four women and one in 17 men are sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. Rape crisis centers provide the frontline response to rape and sexual abuse in their communities advocating for victims, spreading awareness and prevention messages, and coordinating with criminal justice, medical, and other professionals who respond to these crimes.
- Sexual violence is a national problem that needs national, state, and local solutions. Congress, by fully funding anti-sexual violence programs, and the White House, by aggressively executing anti-sexual violence laws in place, have an obligation to end sexual violence.
- Already, at least 25% of rape crisis centers have a waiting list for core services, 61% have 3 or less staff, and 93% of staff make less than $40,000/year nationally. Diminishing VAWA would cost significant economic impact to survivors and result in their inability to access services.
- The federal government, with its ability to harness information and direct significant financial resources, must remain a full partner in this fight.
Last But Not Least.
For those of you who have never contacted your elected officials or who are nervous to speak with your elected Members of Congress, here is a fun article we found that may be helpful or at least make you laugh:
Remember, we have allies in D.C. and will be working closely with a variety of state and national partners to protect VAWA funding and the victims and families who rely on these services. If you have any questions or if you would like more information concerning how to contact your elected Member of Congress, please do not hesitate to reach out to CCASA staff. We are here to support you, to support your work, and to fight for the rights of the survivors you serve.