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Statement from the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence on Governor Sununu’s Budget Address
Amanda Grady Sexton, 603-548-9377
The New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and its 13 member programs are deeply appreciative of the Governor’s proposed increase of state general funds domestic violence services. The Governor has proposed an increase to the “Domestic Violence Programs General Fund” within the Health and Human Services Budget from $643,456 per fiscal year to $1.2 million per fiscal year.
“We are incredibly grateful to Governor Sununu for his leadership and work to prioritize lifesaving services for victims of domestic violence and their children. When survivors find the strength to come forward and seek support, their courage should be met with adequate services and a commitment to their safety. In the last two years, our programs were forced to turn away 1,854 adult survivors and 1,310 children in need of immediate housing. Lack of space in emergency shelter or underfunded programs should never be a reason a survivor is denied safety – victims in our state deserve better. We look forward to working with both the House and Senate to earn their support, and to show victim/survivors that the state of New Hampshire is committed to ending domestic violence in the Granite State.” - Amanda Grady Sexton, Director of Public Affairs for the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
“The work being done by Bridges, and crisis centers across the state helps survivors stand on their own two feet again by helping them to rebuild their credit, create a budget, secure employment, find housing, and save money for themselves and their children. With an increase in state funding, we will be able to build upon the work already being done and help even more survivors find independence. Recently, we helped a mother of 3 who was participating in our transitional housing program to apply for a scholarship for school and repair her credit through our microloan program. I’m thrilled to share that she has since graduated from college, gotten a job, and is living on her own with her children free from abuse and is completely financially independent. The Governor’s proposed budget will allow us to assist more victims in writing their success story, much like this survivor did.” - Executive Director of Bridges: Domestic and Sexual Violence Support, NH’s Nashua-based crisis center.
“Survivors of domestic violence living in rural communities, like the ones that we serve in Coos County, face additional barriers when seeking to leave their abuser or access support services. When any survivor makes the brave decision to leave, the risk of lethality significantly increases. In a small NH town where everyone knows each other, that survivor is in even more danger. No survivor fleeing abuse should ever be turned away from emergency housing – unfortunately, this the current reality facing far too many survivors in NH. Lack of capacity and resources limits our ability to support those who need it most and additional state dollars will go a long way in our ability to keep NH survivors and families safe.” – Deb Haynes-Kenney, Program Director of Response to Sexual and Domestic Violence, the NH crisis center serving survivors in Coos County.
“For me, Turning Points Network helped me out of a very dangerous situation. When I came into shelter I was severely injured and desperately needed support. I’m fortunate to have found safety – Turning Points Network has been my life line. Crisis centers prevent violence, end cycles of abuse, and help survivors in NH to heal.” – Diane T., NH domestic violence survivor.
In the last two years, New Hampshire’s crisis centers served nearly 30,000 victims, yet were forced to turn away 1,854 adults and 1,310 children from emergency domestic violence shelter due to lack of capacity. That means that 3,164 Granite Staters who were in imminent danger, and sought support in the midst of crisis were unable to take refuge in shelter simply due to lack of funding.
This budget request recognizes that it’s past time to ensure that child and adult victims impacted by domestic violence have access to the services that they need and deserve in the hospital, in the courtroom, and beyond. With additional state support, our crisis centers will help survivors of domestic violence access safe and stable housing, build a financially secure future for themselves and their children, and take strides towards leading lives free from violence.
The New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence is a statewide network of 13 independent member programs committed to ending sexual violence, domestic violence, and stalking, through direct services to victims, community education, and public policy advocacy. The NHCADSV and its 13 member programs do not discriminate based on gender, age, health status (including HIV-positive), physical, mental, or emotional ability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, socio-economic status, race, national origin, immigration status, or religious or political affiliation. For more information visit www.nhcadsv.org.