For Catalyst, which relies on state funding for nearly 35 percent of its operating budget, the affect will be “devastating,” Executive Director Anastacia Snyder said.
“We’re still in shock,” Snyder said Wednesday afternoon. “We were bracing for the 20 percent cut, but did not believe the governor could, with a clear conscience, cut 100 percent of funding for services that keep women and children safe and alive.”
Snyder said the loss of $249,351 in state funding, in addition to a 65 percent drop in donations this past year presents “critical circumstances” for the agency, which will be forced to cut services to local victims of domestic violence.
In order to maintain Haven House, Catalyst’s shelter for women and children, Snyder said the agency will have to slash services offered at their drop-in centers in Paradise and Oroville, with the centers facing possible closure.
The centers, which have both been open for approximately 10 years, provide counseling services, assistance with restraining orders and are often the first point of contact for a victim facing a domestic violence crisis, Snyder said.Catalyst also runs programs for child counseling, support groups, community education and legal advocacy, which are also vulnerable to budget cuts.
Should the drop-in centers close, Snyder said domestic violence victims in rural and isolated areas surrounding Oroville and Paradise will inevitably suffer.
“This means victims will not have access to services in their communities,” Snyder said, adding that without services to help them leave a violent environment, victims of domestic violence may be forced to live in danger.
To compound their loss of funding, Catalyst has also experienced a steady increase in the number of local victims served, in light of the current economic downturn.
Although Snyder said the recession does not directly cause instances of domestic violence, she said the added stress of job loss, foreclosures and car repossessions, can raise tension in vulnerable homes, leading to domestic violence.
“We’ve really seen an increase in the level of services provided and frequency of violence in homes, where the tendency for violence already exists,” Snyder said. “We’ve seen a pretty consistent 28 percent increase this past year.”
With victim services forced to decrease, despite the increase in need, Snyder said local law enforcement agencies and medical facilities will see a significant impact, in light of Catalyst’s funding loss.
Oroville Police Chief Kirk Trostle called the news about the loss of state funding to Catalyst “tragic,” adding that the police department heavily relies on the Oroville drop-in center and staff at Catalyst.
Trostle said Oroville’s police officers regularly partner with Catalyst staff on domestic violence calls, and said he and fellow law enforcement officials often refer victims to the Catalyst drop-in center.
“They are incredible advocates for victims,” Trostle said. “They provide an invaluable service to domestic violence victims.”
In March, funding expired for a three-year program that allowed Catalyst workers to work alongside Oroville police officers at domestic violence calls.
Trostle said having a victim advocate on the scene was valuable to police officers and said the loss of that specific program has already affected the department, noting that a future loss of Catalyst services would be even more detrimental.
“Our officers felt the impact when we lost that funding,” Trostle said. “It’s just tragic to hear that Catalyst had more funding cuts. They are the main agency we work with here and we value their partnership.”
Although the state funding cuts present mostly grim news, Snyder did say the construction of Catalyst’s new shelter will still proceed as planned.
The money received for the shelter’s construction is specifically designated as such, Snyder said, with the loss of state funding creating little impact on the actual building of the shelter.
However, Snyder said the cuts do create issues with staffing the shelter, adding that volunteers will likely have to be pulled from the drop-in centers and other activities to ensure staffing levels at the shelter.
“We’re stepping back 20 years with this funding cut,” Snyder said. “We’re being pushed backed to a volunteer-only grassroots organization.”
Snyder said Catalyst, which has been in existence since 1977, has continually grown its services, with staff that are highly trained, specialized to deal with the often complex needs of domestic violence victims and children.
The efforts made these past three decades toward domestic violence prevention and victim assistance will essentially be lost with the state funding cuts, a phenomenon Snyder said will ultimately threaten the safety of local communities.
“State funding for domestic violence changed the landscape for victims seeking to rebuild their lives,” Snyder said. “If the governor’s budget cuts are allowed to stand, victims will not have a place to turn for help and lives will inevitably be lost.”
I don’t really know what to say about that, other than it is fucked the fuck up beyond belief. I thought that guy was some kind of pinko-in-disguise? Nixon would have thought twice about that kind of shit. Goddamn.