KCSDV and its member programs celebrated new funding for enhanced and expanded outreach services with a series of ten regional press conferences in October.
The Kansas Legislature allocated more than two million dollars in state general funds during the past two years to enhance and expand outreach services to underserved areas and underserved populations in Kansas. However, this funding comes in light of major federal funding cuts to other victims services programs.
"This funding will help to make sure that there are resources and services available and accessible to Kansans in more parts of our state,” said Sandy Barnett, executive director of KCSDV. “Providing expanded and enhanced services is critical to reaching victims in rural and remote areas of Kansas where geography presents significant barriers to accessing help."
For example, Barnett said that often victims have to travel three or four and sometimes ten counties to get the services that they need.
"This fact is incredibly disturbing to us," Barnett said, citing program service statistics that demonstrate that the farther away a victim lives from a county with services, the less likely she is to access those services. "We applaud our allies in the Legislature for recognizing this need."
So far funding has enabled some programs to hire bilingual advocates, to open satellite offices, to increase the number of work hours of outreach advocates, and to make it possible for outreach advocates to travel to victims in rural and remote locations, rather than relying on victims to come to program offices.
"We thank the Legislature but recognize there is much more to do to end the violence," Barnett said. "Until we can say there are no women in Kansas shot, stabbed, strangled, and sexually assaulted in their homes by their husbands, boyfriends, partners, and acquaintances, there is work to be done."
KCSDV thanks the following legislators for their participation and support:
Barbara Ballard – House Democrat
Virginia Beamer – House Republican
Oletha Faust-Goudeau – House Democrat
Jerry Henry – House Democrat
Laura Kelly – Senate Democrat
Bill Light – House Republican
Stephen Morris – Republican and Senate President
Melvin Neufeld –Republican and Speaker of the House
Vicki Schmidt – Senate Republican
Sharon Schwartz – House Republican
Dwayne Umbarger –Republican and Senate Ways and Means Chairman
Jim Ward – House Democrat and Assistant Minority Leader
David Wysong - Senate Republican