Domestic violence center facing federal cuts - Tucson News Now

Domestic violence center facing federal cuts

Emerge helps victims of domestic violence by giving them a place to stay, but it also advocates for those victims in court. (Source: Tucson News Now) Emerge helps victims of domestic violence by giving them a place to stay, but it also advocates for those victims in court. (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse is urging members of the public to contact their congressmen as they face federal cuts.  

Funding provided by the Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) comes from court fines among other sources, and is in turn used to help agencies across the country provide services for domestic violence survivors.

Emerge! gets about $300,000 from VOCA every year which amounts to more than seven staff members.  

Emerge! CEO Ed Mercurio-Sakwa said if congress reduces the overall funds meant for victims, it could have a ripple effect on the local shelter and services.

The cuts come at a time when the center is experiencing more crisis hotline calls.  

In the past few months, Emerge! has handled about 650 calls every month.  

Mercurio-Sakwa said it's an important tool in helping women reach out for help.

"They've probably been met with nothing but judgment up until that point," Mercurio-Sakwa said. "Or people not believing them, or all kinds of other things that created additional barriers."

According to a release, Congress is considering cutting VOCA funding nationally by 51 percent, from $2.36 billion to $1.2 billion.  

It's just one item Congress is considering trimming down as they move closer to the December 11 deadline to approve a long-term budget.

The Emerge! 24-hour bilingual crisis number is (520) 795-4266.

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