The Domestic Violence Center of the Santa Clarita Valley, which provided service to more than 1,000 victims in 2008, has had its budget cut by nearly half due to California’s budget crisis.
With the elimination of the $20.4 million budget for state-funded domestic violence programs on Tuesday, the Center took a $207,222 immediate hit, resulting in staff reductions and limited services.
Board members are discussing various ways to make up the shortfall, but as one member put it “in this economy, we just can’t fundraise like we used to.”
The most drastic possibility would be the closure of the shelter and service center, leaving a community of more than 250,000 with no domestic violence resources.
“As the Center’s Executive Director, I think about every client who has come through our doors and their horrific stories of abuse – I cannot help but cry when I think about what the loss of our services will mean to victims,” Nicole Shellcroft wrote in a press release. “The impact of our Center shutting down would be devastating. For many of us, our home is a place of refuge from the world, from work, from stress – it’s a place that brings comfort, and safety. Families suffering at the hands of a violent perpetrator do not have this experience of home. For many victims and their children, the home is a terrifying place.
“Those who walk through our doors have suffered through broken bones, beatings, strangulation, food deprivation, arson, torture, genital mutilation and unspeakable sexual violence. They have been thrown down flights of stairs, have been victim to violent physical attacks during pregnancy and have even faced the prospect of murder.”
As recently as July 12, domestic violence has been in local headlines when Giuliana Perrotta was beaten to death, allegedly by her husband, who later hanged himself in the backyard of the couple’s Canyon Country home, bolstering the organization’s importance in the community.
“Victims seek our services to escape incredible violence aimed at them and their children. Domestic violence crosses all ethnic, religious, economic, and social boundaries, and is generational: children who are abused or who witnessed abuse in the home are more likely to either be abused or to abuse their partners as adults. Domestic violence is possibly the most pernicious and widespread social ill affecting not only physical health but also mental and emotional health of individuals throughout the entire community. Domestic violence happens in our community and these services are desperately needed,” Shellcroft said.
Donations are being sought from the community to try and keep the center going. For more information, go to www.dvcsantaclarita.com or call the outreach center (661) 259-8175.