Message of the Week
Thursday, April 20, 2006
In our state, a victim of domestic violence seeking shelter is turned away more often than she is taken in. Two out of three women in Arizona looking for refuge from abuse don't receive it because there simply isn't any room for them. No one should be driven back to the arms of their abusers because they have nowhere else to turn. It is our duty to protect these women.
I have made and will continue to make funding emergency shelter services-and working for domestic violence victims-a priority. This year, I have proposed an additional $2.8 million in funding for emergency shelter. I hope that women will soon have a safe place to stay, no matter what their circumstances.
For many women, emergency shelter is just the beginning. Victims of domestic violence need help to rebuild their lives. A crucial step in the rebuilding process is finding a system of social support that includes transitional housing, quality healthcare, and a job.
Strong social support systems help to prevent further abuse. Increasing access to affordable, quality healthcare is especially important for women facing situations of domestic violence. When women are less able to provide for themselves and their children, as is the case when insurance for children isn't readily available, leaving an abusive situation becomes difficult. Economic self-sufficiency is also critical to the well being of women and their children. Women who have opportunities for employment are more likely to leave abusive relationships and help end the cycle of abuse.
The Governor's Office for Children, Youth, and Families' (GOCYF) Division for Women has been on the forefront of these efforts: working with the Sojourner Center to develop and identify transitional housing needs; providing staff support to my Commission on the Health Status of Women and Families and my Commission to Prevent Violence Against Women; administering the Women's Workforce Development Grant Program; and utilizing a $10,000 grant from the Sloan Centers on Innovative Training and Workforce Technology to develop online programs for low-income working mothers.
In order for this system to truly be effective, we must make sure that these services are available statewide. Protection from domestic violence should not be a privilege reserved for women in urban areas alone. All women and children deserve to be kept safe. The State Plan to End Domestic and Sexual Violence provides a blueprint to providing comprehensive statewide services for victims. The plan, along with the State Agency Coordinating Team (SACT), which works to maximize resources to aid victims of domestic violence, helps ensure that all Arizona women have access to the assistance they need.
This Saturday, I'll be heading up Team Governor as we participate in the Walk to End Domestic Violence. The proceeds from the walk will go directly to the victims of domestic violence and their children.
As always, I appreciate your input, and encourage you to call my office at 602.542.1318 if you have questions or thoughts to share. Or, please visit our website at http://www.azgovernor.gov for information and news in state government.
Yours very truly,