Shutdown worries mid-Missouri domestic violence shelters
JEFFERSON CITY – Domestic violence shelters in mid-Missouri could stop receiving federal funds starting Friday at 6 a.m. due to the government shutdown.
“Many programs, especially rural programs, rely on being able to access those federal funds, so, without them, they have to start making decisions,” said Matthew Huffman, public affairs director for the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
The Department of Justice distributes funds to shelters through the Office on Violence Against Women, but the shutdown could prevent that.
Domestic violence shelters rely on a variety of different funding sources, including federal funds, donor money and local funding, Huffman said.
“If one of those dries up even temporarily, then programs have to start making some really difficult decisions,” he said.
With federal funding missing, some shelters might have to ask the bank for a loan, ask donors to provide extra funds, lay off employees or cut services, Huffman said.
Domestic violence shelters in mid-Missouri provide a variety of services, including emergency shelters for victims, 24 hour hotlines, court and legal advocacy and free counseling.
Huffman said the shutdown is not only affecting programs, but people.
Many survivors of domestic abuse rely on other government programs like food security, housing and economic security, he said.
“Without these programs, survivors have the really difficult decision of potentially going back to their abuser,” Huffman said.
42,698 victims of domestic and sexual violence received services from MCADSV programs in 2017.
Huffman worried that, during the shutdown, large groups will be affected by the lack of domestic and sexual violence programs.
“As Missourians, we as a state are only as strong as our people, and, if Missourians aren’t able to access these programs, then we see really detrimental health benefits on the individuals, but also our communities,” he said.
The Missouri Department of Public Safety has a list of services offered in each county.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673