HARRISBURG, Pa., (June 21, 2023) — A joint effort between Domestic Violence Services of Cumberland & Perry Counties (DVSCP) the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV), its network of 59 domestic violence programs, 90 state legislators, and individuals across the Commonwealth is urging the state to approve a budget that provides increased funding for domestic violence services.
Domestic violence programs across Pennsylvania are at a tipping point, nearing a financial crisis that threatens the ability to keep their doors open to victims fleeing life-threatening violence. A lack of adequate funding results in victims and survivors being placed on longer waitlists or not receiving the services they need when they need them. During a single day in 2022, Pennsylvania programs served more than 3,500 victims and survivors. However, nearly 400 service requests were unmet because of a lack of financial resources. Many of those unmet requests were for emergency shelter and housing needs.
Last year in Cumberland and Perry Counties, DVSCP provided services for more than 1,400 people experiencing violence. The agency sheltered 113 adults and 109 children, totaling 7,313 shelter nights and fielded 1,975 hotline calls. Of those calls, more than 11% fell into a ‘high risk of death’ category. Staff also helped in the preparation of 442 Protection from Abuse Orders. Numbers served increased in most categories and finding affordable housing is a critical issue in both counties. Domestic violence continues to be one of the leading causes of homelessness in the United States, and the housing shortage is a nation-wide problem.
The state legislature must increase appropriations allocated to the Department of Human Services through Act 44 by $4 million in FY23-24 to begin filling gaps paramount to ensuring victim safety.
Neither the Governor’s nor the House’s proposed budgets included increased funding for domestic violence services.
In response, PCADV and DVSCP rallied more than 90 Pennsylvania legislators – both Democrats and Republicans – to sign a letter urging their colleagues to support an increase in state funding for domestic violence services. Rep. La’Tasha Mayes (D-24), Rep. Natalie Mihalek (R-40), and Senator Judy Schwank (D-11) led the effort to garner support for a domestic violence funding increase.
DVSCP’s advocacy committee has been meeting with various legislators, including Rep. Thomas Kutz, Rep Patty Kim (pictured below), and aides from Senator Rothman and Senator Regan’s offices to discuss the challenges that survivors face and the free and confidential services our agency offers to assist those trying to escape abuse. The agency also attended PCADV’s lobby day on May 2, 2023, to further educate legislators on this issue (pictured below).
Individuals can join in the call for increased funding for domestic violence services by signing PCADV’s petition.
About DVSCP – DVSCP is a nonprofit organization which provides emergency shelter, 24-hour toll-free hotline, crisis counseling, individual and group counseling, legal accompaniment, referral services, professional trainings and public education, medical accompaniment, and AMEND (an intervention program for men who abuse and/or batter their partners or others). The agency seeks to support the empowerment of those who are experiencing domestic violence through the provision of equitable and inclusive direct services and the promotion of nonviolence through social and systems change.
Community members wishing to support Domestic Violence Services of Cumberland & Perry Counties, seek additional information on domestic violence, or learn about volunteer opportunities, may call the agency at (717) 258-4806.