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County Contracts with Community Organization to Provide Services for Domestic Violence Victims

 

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF –Today the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an allocation of State funding, to support shelters for victims of domestic violence, to four community organizations. Under a new process approved today, the County’s Office of Women’s Policy will be the direct administrator of the funding.

“Our goal is to get these funds out into the community so that women and children who need services can benefit,” said President George Shirakawa, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors, and Chair of the Board’s Public Safety and Justice Committee. “The Office of Women’s Policy serves as a key advocate for women and families and will administer these funds.”

Today’s action by the Board of Supervisors authorizes the one-time disbursement of the fund balance totaling $748,793 to domestic violence service providers Next Door, YWCA, Asian Americans for Community Involvement, AACI, and Community Solutions. Approved funding also establishes ongoing revenue and expenditure budgets of $60,000 annually so that future receipts into the fund can be disbursed to the shelters pursuant to statute and agreements with the listed community based organization. The agreements with the four community based organizations were also approved.

The funding sources are State initiatives associated with the domestic batterers and are derived from court-imposed fees from batterer convictions. Batterers on probation may be required to pay $400 in fees to the Domestic Violence Program Trust Funds. Batterers can also be fined up to $5,000 in liability. These funds support domestic violence programs. Any additional revenue collected will be distributed on a quarterly basis.

“Knowing that there is a safe harbor may encourage victims of domestic violence to leave the situation and take their children to safety,” said Supervisor Dave Cortese, Chair of the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors Children, Seniors and Families Committee. “Breaking the cycle of violence will help these children avoid future negative outcomes. They can then begin the healing process and receive much needed support.”

This funding will partially remedy considerable cuts that local agencies have endured as a result of the current economic climate; and assist community based organizations to continue their work of helping to break the cycle of violence for victims.

Children are often direct victims or witnesses to domestic violence. Research shows that the significant negative short-, and long-term impacts on children's health, school performance and socialization may be mitigated by access to shelter based programs and services. Services and programming target children’s basic needs to ensure they feel welcomed, safe, can focus on their education, and have access to support from caring adults.

As seniors can also be victims of domestic violence, funding of programs and services may also address the violence in their lives, including providing access to shelter, case management and legal advocacy.

Background

Five domestic violence deaths were reported in 2010 in Santa Clara County; 16 were reported in 2011. Domestic violence shelter agencies reported that during FY 10-11:

  • Emergency shelter was accessed by 795 victims and children with over 20,000 bed nights provided
  • 1,842 individuals were unable to access shelter because the domestic violence shelters were full (not an unduplicated count)
  • 23,391 hotline calls answered
Victims of domestic violence in Santa Clara County are encouraged to call (800) 799-SAFE (7233), where an advocate can help them confidentially.


Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Marina Hinestrosa, Office of Public Affairs (408) 299-5119;
Esther Peralez-Dieckmann, Office of Women’s Policy (408) 299-5142
Posted: March 20, 2012