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3 States on a Path for Domestic Violence to Get Worse (Kansas, Utah & Wisconsin)

Do you live in Kansas, Wisconsin, or Utah? Do you care about ending domestic violence?

Then listen up... There are some things that domestic violence advocates want you to know.

What Domestic Violence Advocates in Kansas Want You to Know...

Domestic abuse victims seeking help from the court aren't getting the help they need. This is because protection from abuse orders is a civil process so women aren’t guaranteed a lawyer since the Constitutional protection that guarantees a person the right to an attorney only extends to criminal cases. Therefore, many domestic violence advocates believe that near 70% of people represent themselves in these cases. If the victim fails to make a compelling legal case they could end up upsetting their ex-partner even more while also having no legal protection.

Unfortunately, when someone doesn’t have a lawyer to help them they tend to make mistakes. Some of the most common mistakes include filing an order that’s better suited for a different court, not realizing that they can ask for their court date to be pushed back so that they can talk to a lawyer, and improperly representing evidence (e.g., having messages on your phone isn’t acceptable evidence).

More courtroom advocates are needed. These domestic violence advocates have domestic violence advocacy training to help victims go through the entire protection order application process. While a domestic abuse victim advocate isn’t a lawyer they can make the process easier by answering questions or helping them feel comfortable.

What Domestic Abuse Victim Advocates in Utah Want You to Know...

Domestic violence victim advocates in Utah are calling for more funding as there’s a surging demand for domestic violence services. This was caused by the passing of the new domestic violence lethality assessment law (SB 117) in the 2023 general session. This law requires police officers to ask victims a series of questions to gauge their situation during a domestic violence call. The result of this is an 80% surge in people reaching out for help (i.e., 540 people asking for help in 2022 vs. 1,700 people in 2023). Of this number 30% requested temporary shelter but these shelters were overwhelmed even before the new law went into effect. Domestic violence advocates say it’s not a matter of simply having more beds. There also needs to be more domestic violence advocate training programs which would require at least $6 million in funding which would only help those programs already in existence.

What Domestic Violence Advocacy Training in Wisconsin Wants You to Know...

Domestic violence advocates want people in Wisconsin to know that domestic violence is on a disturbing rise. In 2022 End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin (a domestic violence advocacy group) found that domestic abuse reached a 22-year high. The statistics also showed that in 25 of the state’s 72 counties, 96 people from the age of 2 - 90 years old died from domestic violence last year (the highest number since 2000). Additionally, police spent 13,312 hours on domestic disturbance calls in 2022. This data is already bleak and yet there are impending cuts to federal victim resource funding which will only make the situation worse.

Most domestic violence advocates and shelters rely on the Victims of Crime Act (a.k.a., VOCA) as their primary source of money. This money comes from non-tax revenue (e.g., fines, penalties, bond forfeitures from convicted federal criminals). Unfortunately, there have been significant decreases in VOCA funds during the past few years due to both legislative and federal judicial changes. In the past five-year funding cycle, VOCA allocated over $44 million to crime victim services but now they’re projecting $13.5 million for the next three years. This is going to cause some programs to have to close down.

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