Senator Clinton Calls on Department of Justice to Restore Funding for the Capital District Women's Bar Association Legal Project
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton sent a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) urging the restoration of funding for the Capital District Women's Bar Association Legal Project, which assists women who have been victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Upstate, NY. Under President Bush's authority, the Department of Justice denied funding to this model program, and it now faces the prospect of having to shut its doors unless additional funding is identified.
"I am outraged that such a valuable program-- the only one of its kind in Upstate, New York-- may have to close its doors," Senator Clinton said. "This is exactly the type of project that the Legal Assistance for Victims program should be supporting, and I hope the Department of Justice will reconsider the application," said Senator Clinton.
[Please see attached letter]
October 5, 2005
Ms. Diane Stuart
Office of Violence Against Women
United States Department of Justice
800 K Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 202530
Dear Ms. Stuart:
I write to urge you to reconsider your office's decision to deny funding to The Capital District Women's Bar Association Legal Project (CDWBA Legal Project), an award-winning legal services organization in upstate New York dedicated to assisting victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Your financial support, through the Legal Assistance for Victims (LAV) grant program, has enabled CDWBA Legal Project to aid more than 4000 victims of domestic violence and sexual assault since 1996. CDWBA Legal Project targets the "working poor"- women whose income is too low to hire a private attorney but too high to receive public legal services. With your support, the attorneys at the CDWBA Legal Project have assisted women in their efforts to protect themselves and their children from abusive partners and husbands. The program has been so successful that the United States Office of Justice Programs identified it as a "best practices program" in 2003-a model for communities striving to better serve and protect victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Unfortunately, the CDWBA Legal Project received notice on September 15, 2005 that its application for continued funding had been denied, and the CDWBA Legal Project now faces the possibility of shutting down. The CDWBA Legal Project must contemplate laying off staff, including its Legal Director, Victim Services Coordinator, and staff attorneys, and ending critical services for battered women. This is particularly troubling because The CDWBA Legal Project is the only comprehensive legal services program in upstate New York.
The Office of Violence Against Women has supported the CDWBA Legal Project's efforts on behalf of battered women for nearly a decade. I hope that you will reconsider your decision and instead opt to continue funding for this critical program. Thank you for your consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I may be of assistance.
Hillary Rodham Clinton