Advocates for ending domestic violence fear budget cuts

Violence Against Women Act not passed in 2013. / Jessica Fairley

Advocates who rally against domestic violence and child abuse are facing changes to the laws they follow.

Executive Director Silke Deeley of the Liberty House says one of the biggest issues affecting those fighting against domestic violence in 2013 is the fact that congress didn't reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

"There's a real possibility that with the deficits they will be cutting that funding and who knows what we're going to end up with," said Deeley.

In addition to possibly losing funding, she says not passing the VAWA legislation cuts out proposals that may have protected immigrant, LGBTQ and Native American victims.

Although VAWA was not reauthorized, there is a chance that it could be implemented later in the year.

New laws have also removed spousal privileges in court.

"Sometimes, perhaps we put the victim at risk if she testifies against her abuser, if she feels that that testimony is going to further endanger her or cause her to other problems down the road," said Deeley.

While this could prove dangerous for victims, it may be positive for lawyers.

"They may be able to prosecute their cases better because victims of domestic violence might recant, they might refuse to testify, or they might invoke spousal privilege," said Deeley.

While Deeley works to protect victims of domestic violence, those with Dougherty CASA are following the law by making sure all volunteers know their duty to report child abuse.

"Whenever we have training, we always add that in, as far as training, about the mandated child reported laws," said Evelyn Cookley, Executive Director for Dougherty CASA.

While the child abuse law changes are easier to implement, domestic violence employees say time will only tell how the new laws will affect their victims.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off