HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Corbett has offered a preview of his 2014-15 budget proposal with an announcement that he plans to increase funding for rape crisis services and domestic violence programs.
“Protecting our citizens and helping them in times of need is one of the core functions of government,” Corbett said. “I am proposing we continue our commitment to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault and provide support services for victims through a $2.2 million funding increase to these critical programs next year.”
He was joined for the announcement by Pennsylvania’s Victim Advocate Jennifer Storm and members of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR).
“Governor Corbett understands the importance of ensuring that we meet the needs of crime victims and that we do everything in our power to prevent these horrific crimes from taking place,” said Storm.
“I’m proud to stand here today alongside the governor to support two groups who lead the nation in their efforts against domestic violence and sexual assault.”
Corbett’s proposal of an additional 10 percent would provide historic levels of state funding to domestic violence and rape crisis services.
Domestic violence programs would see an increase from approximately $13.9 million to $15.3 million in state funding that helps support emergency services such as a 24/7 hotline, emergency shelter and financial aid; and victim advocacy.
“This indispensable funding will assist those who have experienced domestic violence and help them to survive, recover, and resume their lives,” said Peg Dierkers, executive director of PCADV. “The governor’s continued support of Pennsylvanians who too often fall victim to crimes within their own homes is commendable.”
PCADV, the oldest statewide domestic violence coalition in the nation, provides assistance to nearly 100,000 victims of domestic violence through a network of 60 community-based programs serving all 67 counties in the commonwealth.
The proposed increase for PCAR is nearly $800,000, which will bring total state spending to more than $8.7 million. PCAR distributes the funds among 50 rape crisis centers in local communities.
“We thank Governor Corbett for his continued support in the healing of men, women, children and their families across Pennsylvania who live with the trauma of sexual victimization,” said Delilah Rumburg, PCAR’s chief executive officer. “This increased funding will allow us to better provide services and aid in the prevention of these crimes before they occur.”
Pennsylvania’s rape crisis centers serve more than 30,000 individuals annually. They also operate more than 25,000 school-based prevention programs and nearly 3,000 community prevention programs.
The funds for rape crisis programs would assist with emergency services such as a 24/7 hotline; financial aid; referral services to other community programs; accompaniment to police, hospital or court appointments; victim advocacy; and both primary and at-risk prevention programs.
“In 2012, 110 victims died as a result of domestic violence homicide, and statistics show that one in four women and one in six men will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18,” said Corbett. “We must all continue our work together to prevent these senseless acts of violence.”
For more information, visit www.pa.gov.