Local News

Domestic Violence Agency Affected By Cuts In Federal Funding

Posted August 1, 2001 9:58 a.m. EDT

— This year, the

Governor's Crime Commission

changed the way it distributes federal money to domestic violence organizations. The goal is to spread it evenly throughout all 100 counties, but this means some counties received much less money this year.

Almost everyone supports the idea in theory, but it's causing big problems for one agency in Chatham County. A year ago, Denise Hart left the father of her children, the man she says abused her for many years.

"He would just feed on that low self-worth I had and just keep bringing me down," she says.

Hart got away with the help of Family Violence and Rape Crisis Services of Chatham County, but now the group is in financial trouble. Executive Director Jo Sanders says the agency lost $135,000 in federal funding this year.

"It has meant that we have had to cut back on a number of services," she says. "To begin with, we have had to put on our hiring freeze. One of the results is that we've lost our bi-lingual counselor advocate."

Barry Bryant of the Governor's Crime Commission says the group had to cut the amount of federal grants to many agenices in order to give money to counties without services.

"Fourteen counties in North Carolina that never before had domestic violence services to provide to victims now do have those services available," he says.

Despite layoffs and cutbacks in services, the Chatham County group is still facing a $70,000 deficit. On August 23, the Governor's Crime Commission says will re-examine the funding policy and decide whether or not to make changes.