Domestic violence group fears funding cuts 

By Hannah Troyer
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Governor Mike Pence’s administration and the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence are at odds over funding for prevention and shelters.

The nonprofit group claims the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute – with Pence’s approval – is proposing to cut $1.25 million from domestic violence programs.

But representatives of the governor and the institute say that’s not the case.

“Gov. Pence did not order cuts from the domestic violence fund for reversions nor for anything else,” said Gary Abell, communications director for the institute.

But the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence says Pence has asked that $160,000 of the $3.5 million the legislature appropriated for domestic violence programs be put back into the state’s general fund.

And the group says the ICJI also wants to hold back more than $1 million of the allocated funds, rather than distributing it to programs.

Abell said that misrepresents the institute’s actions. The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute’s Victim Services Subcommittee voted to recommend funding for domestic violence prevention programs at the same funding level as 2013 – just more than $2 million – earlier this week, he said.

But he acknowledged the subcommittee plans to make an additional $826,840 available – only after the shelters provide details on how the additional funds would be spent.

“The spending details are critical for public accountability, transparency, and to ensure funds are best utilized to meet the needs of domestic violence victims,” Abell said.

The subcommittee “did not propose cutting funds for domestic violence programs,” he added.

The institute’s board plans a vote on the issue at a meeting Friday.

The funding debate comes at a time when domestic violence is getting national attention thanks to cases involving numerous National Football League players – including one involving running back Ray Rice.

And the issue is a problem for Indiana. Domestic violence programs throughout the state helped more than 30,000 people last year. In addition, 59,000 calls were made to domestic violence hotlines and 62 people died in connection with a domestic violence incident.

Laura Berry, executive director of the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, says cuts would hurt shelters throughout the state.

“Organizations that provide domestic violence shelter and services around the state will be devastated by a loss of nearly $1 million,” Berry said. “We are in an emergency situation.”

Hannah Troyer is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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