A group of bi-partisan lawmakers are asking state Attorney General JB Van Hollen to find a way to maintain funding for sex assault victim services. Not as much money is coming in from criminal surcharges which mean less funding available for the Sexual Assault Victims Services Program. Local agencies are being told to expect 42 percent less money in 2012.
Attorney Ian Henderson with the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault says communities will have to “step up” with fundraising or these agencies will have to do “less with less.” He adds many of these services are already stretched thin.
Henderson says the cut in funding may also make it more difficult to bring rapists to justice with fewer advocates to help victims in reporting the crime and working with prosecutors to convict offenders.
In the short term, WCASA suggests using recently realized federal Victim of Crime Act funds and or existing discretionary state DOJ funds to help plug the hole. Long term they are pushing for a dedicated funding source to prevent future shortfalls.