BEND, Ore. - The Oregon Domestic and Sexual Violence Services Fund is among the most critical piece of funding for non-profit, community-based victims' services in every community across Oregon.
Pinnacles of private-public partnerships, local organizations provide emergency shelter, medical and legal advocacy, safety planning and even workforce readiness programs for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
These life saving services are provided by the members of the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence (OCADSV), which includes some tribal programs, and non-profits that serve every county in the state. They offer a significant contribution to public safety by reducing the likelihood of re-assault by nearly 70%, according to a Johns Hopkins University study.
"This means victims are 70% less likely to need costly emergency room services or visits by already strained law enforcement operations, and will help to ensure that children in these families return to school and stay in a home instead of emergency shelters, under bridges or in their cars," said Vanessa Timmons, Executive Director of OCADSV, "yet our programs are struggling to provide these services for your communities due to an increase need for services and shelter - and decreased capacity to provide them."
Saving Grace is a member of the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic Violence & Sexual Violence.
"We are so grateful that our hard-working legislators recognize the importance of community services for victims of domestic and sexual violence and by increasing funding they have provided an immeasurable gift of safety for victims", said Janet Huerta, Executive Director of Saving Grace.
Across the state in 2011-2012 over 37,000 victim requests for emergency shelter could not be met. In part because ODSVS was only funded at about 13% of what was required to meet emergency shelter needs in the 2011-13 biennium according to a study by the State of Oregon.
When additional funding was made possible by the Legislature's passage of HB 3194, an omnibus public safety reform and reinvestment policy, the Seventy-Seventh Legislature cleared the pathway to make a critical investment in to ODSVS.
HB 3194 is projected to flat line prison growth over the next five years, saving the State at least $90 million, and $4 million of those savings are being reinvested into proven non-profit, community-based public safety programs, such as those provided by members of OCADSV. "The swell of gratitude from domestic and sexual violence survivors, their advocates and allies is difficult to capture in words. State Legislators should be commended for voting to make this smart and brave investment possible" Timmons said.
Saving Grace provides comprehensive family violence and sexual assault services and promotes the value of living life free from violence. For more information on Saving Grace visit saving-grace.org or call 541-382-9227.