NJ Domestic Violence Group Makes Plea for More Funding [AUDIO]
Dozens of groups attended a public hearing on Gov. Chris Christie's proposed $34.4 billion state budget proposal at the Statehouse on Tuesday. Most asked for some extra money to be included for their groups, including an advocate for battered women who said more funds are needed to help those affected by domestic violence.
"There are still 40 murders -- domestic violence homicides in New Jersey every year," said Jane Shivas, executive director of the New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women. "We have over 70,000 incidents of domestic violence reported to the police in New Jersey, but that's only the reports, and it's just the tip of the iceberg."
It takes money to help victims of domestic violence, and Shivas said her group hasn't seen a funding increase in state budgets for over five years.
"Domestic violence occurs in every community throughout the state and throughout the country, resulting in death and people who live lives of quiet desperation," Shivas explained. "We serve approximately 14,000 clients every year providing safety and assistance toward self-sufficiency. We house 1,500 women and 1,800 children every year."
Programs have been put in place by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families to help victims get funding, and according to Shivas they raise 15 to 25 percent of their budgets through other means, including federal funds.
"Funding has remained flat over the last five years, threatening the capacity of our programs to provide services," Shivas said.