Pa. shelters blame budget cuts for having to turn away domestic violence victims

A report by a national women’s group has found that hundreds of domestic violence victims who are looking for refuge in Pennsylvania are turned away on any given day.

The National Network to End Domestic Violence monitors the state’s emergency shelters and transitional homes for one 24-hour period each year to get a snapshot of how many abuse victims are able to obtain help. Nearly 1,200 victims in Pennsylvania were able to find sanctuary on Sept. 17, 2013, while more than 200 were turned away.

The group’s report found similar trends throughout the nation.

Kim Gandy, president of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, says most of the country’s service providers say they could not meet the need for shelter and other programs because of reduced government funding.

“You’ve got states where the majority of shelter workers are eligible for food stamps because there’s so little money that they can’t even afford to pay a living wage,” she said. “It’s really frustrating, and I think in this country we don’t have good priorities.”

Annual federal funding for the Violence Against Women Act has dropped to $388 million from $423 million since 2010, according to data provided by the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

Services for abuse victims could get a boost. President Obama is calling for more funding for the Violence Against Women Act, and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is proposing a 10 percent increase in his budget for programs for domestic and sexual violence victims.

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