Message from KCSDV Executive Director, Joyce Grover
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
For over 30 years, KCSDV has been the leading voice in the statewide effort to end sexual and domestic violence in Kansas. Through the years, the coalition has seen many changes. In the beginning, a small staff charted new ground, developing best practice publications and delivering essential training. KCSDV was able to sustain a steady growth in staff and projects through federal and state grant initiatives, allowing us to focus on specialized areas such as improving services for survivors with disabilities, providing direct legal representation to survivors, delivering targeted training to sexual assault nurse examiners and response teams, providing targeted support to survivors and their children on public assistance, and facilitating training to a wide variety of allied professionals.
KCSDV continues to chart new ground and sustain vital initiatives but change continues, especially in the current economic climate.
Last month, KCSDV laid off three valuable staff when it was forced to eliminate three important positions.
Coalitions, shelters and rape crisis centers all over the nation are grappling with these difficult staffing and budget decisions, even as the work and the expectations increase.
While KCSDV may have fewer staff, this important work to serve survivors of domestic and sexual violence continues. We will continue to train a variety of professionals on responding to survivors and their families. We will continue to meet the increasing need for expert advice, training, and assistance for Kansas shelters and rape crisis centers. And, while funding has been restricted and reduced, this does not mean that incidents of domestic violence have decreased overnight or that rape and sexual assault have ended across the state. It does not mean that primary prevention efforts are not still a priority. These reductions at KCSDV mean that Kansas has fewer resources to address all of these critical priorities.
The State of Kansas has continued to support programs with level funding; we are so grateful for this! But as state funding has remained level, we have all been faced with reductions in federal support, and in some communities, local support. Fewer federal grant programs and fewer funds overall have taken a toll. Unfortunately, many programs live hand-to-mouth, finding it difficult to create reserves. Sequestration and delayed funding decisions have pushed many to the brink.
As I write this article, the federal government is shut down. Our state and federal administrators have worked diligently to try to reduce the impact on Kansas programs. Every day the shutdown continues another layer of uncertainty and instability for programs and, indeed, for survivors who rely on these programs, is added.
I certainly hope by the time you read this article, Washington will have gotten past its stalemate on the budget and the debt ceiling discussions. If not, we have much to worry about. In the meantime, if you are a supporter of KCSDV or of your local domestic violence/sexual assault program, consider giving a little extra right now, whether that’s money or time. Show your support; stay engaged! We have so much to gain by working together.