With the government shut down in its fourth week, concerns are being raised by advocates working with survivors of sexual assault on the loss of federal funding for services around the country, particularly on Native American Reservations with many workers with the Bureau of Indian Affairs being furloughed.
Brie Franklin, Executive Director of the Colorado Coalition against Sexual Assault (CCASA) says that in Colorado we’re seeing the impact in rural communities and with small organizations that don’t have a large reserve of funds. “Particularly in rural communities it’s not just your rape crisis center, a lot of victims also need other types of services and so any type of services around housing or food stamps, so any of those other kind of social service net, with those not being available or workers being furloughed or offices being closed, they’re not able to access those.”
Franklin says the government shutdown is also delaying the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act. VAWA was first enacted in 1994 and has been reauthorized three times since then. It is one of the key pieces of federal legislation dedicated to improving a coordinated community response to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking; enhancing access to services and support for survivors; and improving prevention efforts.