Assemblyman Cameron Smyth has signed on to co-author emergency legislation that will provide one-time funding for domestic violence programs. The legislation, by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), will shift $16.3 million from the Victims’ Compensation Fund to the Department of Public Health’s Domestic Violence Program. The Victims’ Compensation Fund currently has a balance of $136.2 million.
“It’s important that we continue to fund the Domestic Violence Program because it provides critical services to victims of domestic abuse, and often is the only thing keeping them from returning to their abuser,” said Smyth. “The program has proven successful, and this legislation will ensure that 94 domestic violence shelters in California, including several in my district, are able to remain open.”
The Legislature had allocated $16.3 million for the program, but it was eliminated completely by the Governor as one of his line-item vetoes.
“Eliminating these programs is shortsighted because it ultimately results in additional health care and law enforcement costs to the state,” said Smyth. “This is a creative solution that requires no new money, yet allows services to still be provided to those who need them most.”
The Domestic Violence Program funds allow local agencies to provide emergency shelter, transitional housing and legal advocacy, as well as assistance with restraining orders, counseling and other vital support services.