Domestic Violence Victims Deserve to Have a Resource System that Puts their Needs First

Maria DiBari
Feb. 18, 2012

Domestic violence victims deserve to have a resource system that puts their needs first. Tragically funding continues to be allocated to non-residential, national agencies and executives across the US, while direct victim support groups go unfunded.

The current domestic violence resource system is inefficient and victims of domestic violence are being neglected while the national DV organizations prosper and remain unaccountable. We would like to see our efforts in DV reform result in a nationwide resource system that better serves victims. To make that happen, we need to see the following changes:

*There is no reason to fund many, separate national DV organizations that all focus on training and policy change. The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), The National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence and others should be merged into one body. This will eliminate a great deal of bureaucratic waste.

*Non-essential services should be cut, putting the focus on funding shelters and crime victim services that assist victims directly.

*Increased emphasis needs to be put on the recruiting, screening, and training of more volunteers who can work with victims one-on-one. Having more volunteer support means that fewer paid staffers will be necessary, thus freeing up more funds to help victims directly.

*Every state must have shelters with adequate funding so that they can house men, women, and children who are in need of these services.

*We should have lawyers and advocates (both volunteer and paid) specializing in domestic violence available in every county of every state to assist domestic abuse victims through the legal process.

*The government needs to audit the federal grants and other funds that domestic violence organizations receive to determine how these funds are being used and to ensure accountability.

*We are in need of a Domestic Violence Oversight Committee to oversee victim resource providers that receive funding and will also act as a clearinghouse for victims left behind to file formal complaints against agencies that fail to serve them.

Taking these steps would bring us all closer to having the best possible resource system in place to aid victims of domestic violence.