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Advocates sound the alarm on the critical need for funding to support survivors, advance sexual and domestic violence prevention
COVID-19 taking a drastic toll on survivors, communities

Press release


Media Contacts:

  • Jessica Merrill, Communications Manager – California Partnership to End Domestic Violence: | (916) 444-7163, ext. 118
  • Carissa Gutierrez, Communications Manager – California Coalition Against Sexual Assault: | (916) 446-2520, ext. 316

Advocates sound the alarm on the critical need for funding to support survivors, advance sexual and domestic violence prevention

COVID-19 taking a drastic toll on survivors, communities

SACRAMENTO — Governor Newsom’s May Budget Revision yesterday excluded additional funding that could decrease California’s costly epidemic of sexual and domestic violence and help survivors heal. The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault CEO Sandra Henriquez and California Partnership to End Domestic Violence Director of Programs Jacquie Marroquin issued the following statement:

“For too many Californians, the social isolation needed to stop COVID-19 has intensified the danger of gender-based violence. Domestic violence and rape crisis programs are part of our state’s critical safety net, and are providing a range of essential services during this crisis. They need increased funding to meet urgent, increased demands for support in their communities.

We acknowledge that the Governor and legislature have been tasked with developing an impossible budget with no easy solutions. We are grateful that the Governor’s office responded quickly in providing limited emergency funds to our Members, this does not address the FY 2020-2021 needs as programs continue to support survivors in these moments of crisis. As Governor Newsom asserted yesterday, COVID-19 responses must be a partnership between the state AND federal government—and domestic and sexual violence cannot be excluded. We are continuing our budget advocacy on both levels, and offer our coalitions as partners in developing creative funding approaches. While government funding is essential, we also continue to explore and see opportunity in a range of public-private partnerships and in the opportunities for philanthropy to help meet this need. 

We were disheartened to see that Governor Newsom’s May Revise left out crucial funding for Rape Crisis Centers, which are struggling to meet the needs of survivors of sexual assault while operating on reduced funding from prior budget years. The Partnership and CALCASA call on Governor Newsom to restore $5 million in funding to Rape Crisis Centers. 

While we were glad to see that the Domestic Violence Assistance Program received level funding that has existed for almost a decade, there remains a serious crisis of survivor homelessness in California. Our Members have shared that calls are skyrocketing, and after the stay-at-home orders are lifted, we expect the demand to surge again. We will continue advocating for $30 million in the final budget, reflecting support for the full range housing options needed by survivors: emergency shelter, transitional housing, and the Domestic Violence Housing First model

It is vital that Governor Newsom and the legislature support survivors now and honor the future they envision. We were disappointed to see that the May Revise excluded funding for sexual and domestic violence prevention, which has been funded in the state budget for the past two years. If healthy relationship and consent skills are built into the fabric of Californians’ lives, we could avoid the devastating outcomes we’re currently seeing, and can expect to see in the future. With $15 million in ongoing prevention funding, more communities across the state could deepen their efforts to stop domestic and sexual violence before adulthood. Nearly 90 organizations throughout California support this critical request. 

Though we understand that our budget is seeing record deficits, our Members are stretched beyond their resources. In order to address the increase of harm our communities are experiencing, direct investment in sexual and domestic violence prevention efforts is critical and a necessary part of COVID-19 relief. To significantly turn the tide on abusive behavior and enhance the well-being of millions of Californians during the COVID-19 pandemic, our state must fund crisis services and prevention.  CALCASA and the Partnership will continue to work with our legislators and Governor to make sure this is addressed in the final budget. 

Learn more about our budget requests.

About the Partnership

The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (the Partnership) is California’s recognized domestic violence coalition, representing over 1,000 survivors, advocates, organizations and allied individuals across the state. Working at the local, state and national levels for nearly 40 years, the Partnership has a long track record of successfully passing over 200 pieces of legislation on behalf of domestic violence victims and their children. The Partnership believes that by sharing expertise, advocates and legislators can end domestic violence. Through our public policy, communications and capacity building programs, we create system-wide change that supports survivors and invests in prevention. Every day we inspire, inform and connect all those concerned with this issue, because together we’re stronger. With offices in Sacramento, the Partnership’s member programs span the entire state. For more information, visit


CALCASA provides leadership, vision and resources to rape crisis centers, individuals and other entities committed to ending sexual violence. CALCASA is committed to ending sexual violence through a multifaceted approach of prevention, intervention, education, research, advocacy and public policy. Through ongoing communication and meetings with constituents, CALCASA relays the challenges and successes of local work to the statewide and national levels and best practices, evidence-based and practice-based programs at the state and national levels to local constituents. For more information, visit  

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