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Governor Newsom and legislature protect FY 19 budget funding to prevent sexual and domestic violence
State prevention funding to continue this year, but come to a halt in 2021—interrupting communities’ grassroots efforts

Press release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 23, 2020

Media Contacts:

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

Governor Newsom and legislature protect FY 19 budget funding to prevent sexual and domestic violence 

State prevention funding to continue this year, but come to a halt in 2021—interrupting communities’ grassroots efforts

SACRAMENTO — After advocates called on Governor Newsom to include $5 million for sexual and domestic violence prevention—funding that had been promised to organizations last year, but was jeopardized in the May Revise—the Governor and legislature today reached a budget agreement that protected it. California Coalition Against Sexual Assault CEO Sandra Henriquez and California Partnership to End Domestic Violence Public Policy Manager Krista Niemczyk issued the following statement:

“Our coalitions were heartened to see that sexual and domestic violence prevention funds have been preserved. In the immediate term, approximately 30 organizations will be able to expand education on consent and respectful, supportive relationships—and further develop efforts to promote healthy masculinity and emotional health among boys and young men (in addition to many other strategies). This is the right thing to do to stop our state’s disproportionate focus on addressing harm after it has already taken place. Prevention means lessening pain & suffering, relieving overwhelmed emergency responses, and reducing mass incarceration.

We understand that this budget has been an incredible balancing act, and want to express our appreciation to the legislature and Governor. Though protecting last year’s funding to prevent sexual and domestic violence is a win, we must also acknowledge that this is the first time in three years where our field has been denied new funding in this area. Our coalitions had urged an ongoing allocation of $15 million. In 2021, this zeroed investment will interrupt communities’ long-term plans to deepen social justice alliances and continue meaningful peer-to-peer learning among youth. 

At this critical moment in time, Californians are reevaluating budget priorities. Our coalitions assert that we can’t rely solely on law enforcement to end sexual and domestic violence—and that is our goal. Rape Crisis Centers and Domestic Violence shelters have served a central role in California’s safety net by providing survivors and their loved ones with a more robust set of tools to address harm, healing and prevention. It is only through social norms change and equity building that we will end sexual and domestic violence. Without it, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) will persist and continue in an intergenerational cycle. In 2019, California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris set an important goal to reduce (ACEs) by 50%. The physical distancing needed to contain COVID-19 has increased the severity of sexual and domestic violence, no doubt intensifying ACEs like childhood exposure to domestic violence, as well as child sexual abuse. Right now, prevention has become even more important than ever to reach young people, families, and communities—and interrupt generational patterns of trauma.

During these unprecedented circumstances, the State of California can’t do this alone. We need funding support from the federal government, and we are committed to maintaining active policy advocacy in Washington, DC.

The fight isn’t over. Our field needs prevention funds to be renewed year after year in order to make progress in preventing sexual and domestic violence. Without it, organizations will be unable to build out multi-year planning. Lack of investments in prevention also keep advocates working beyond their capacity in the critical task of supporting survivors’ healing. Limited emergency funding for COVID-19 provided some relief for this task in May, yet larger stopgaps are needed to address the inequities that compound survivors’ suffering: poverty, racism and language barriers, and housing insecurity. We will keep urging Governor Newsom to provide additional funding for crisis services while calling for more significant, ongoing investments in prevention.”

About CALCASA

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 www.calcasa.org

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 www.cpedv.org

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