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Iowan Domestic Violence Shelters Overwhelmed - Some Turned Away

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 By Dick Layman/Eric Mack, Contact
March 14, 2007


Last year during one 24-hour period, nearly 700 Iowa victims of domestic violence or sexual assault needed shelter, counseling, or other help. But some were turned away due to staffing shortages, according to a study released this week. Laurie Schipper is executive director of the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

"Certainly women are being turned away because of lack of space or shelters have had to transport women to other facilities who do have space."

Schipper says domestic violence programs in Iowa have had to close because of budget cuts, and those that remain are handling more people from farther away. And sometimes there just isn't enough staff to handle all the requests for help. Schipper notes that these numbers are coming at a time when Congress is set to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

"If we lost that federal funding stream and all of the programming that it entails we would see programs, communities really suffer."

The report comes from the National Network to End Domestic Violence; it's available at www.nnedv.org.

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