Budget Cuts Hit Crime Victim Organizations - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Budget Cuts Hit Crime Victim Organizations

     Victims of crime will tell you, no matter how small the crime, it's something that changes your life and you need help to cope. Tonight, the organizations that help victims of crime are victims themselves of budget cuts, to the tune of $2,500,000. It's a move by the state, but it all started with the federal government. Beth Jett reports:

     The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) sent out a letter explaining the state is getting just over $6,000,000 from the Department of Justice for the "Victims of Crime Act funding. That's a drop from $8,500,000 last year. That means organizations like the Council Against Rape are losing a significant amount of their budgets, which will be felt by people who are at the most vulnerable points of their lives, like the daughter of Fran Browne:

Fran Browne/daughter reported date-rape: "Coming in the middle of the night, standing over me, telling me that she was going to kill herself that she just didn't think her life would ever be normal again."

   Fran Browne says she and her daughter leaned hard on the Council Against Rape after her daughter came forward to say she was date raped.

Fran Browne: "She took back her life, but she took back her life with the help of the people at the Rape Crisis Center."

    After our interview, Lindsay Hester, the program director, hugged Fran out of support and caring. But, Lindsay, herself, has a heavy heart, worried about how the Council is going to continue their services after a $60,000 budget cut.

Lindsay Hester/Council Against Rape: "Right now, we're looking at having to cut services. And when we say that, that means victims not able to get the counseling they need ."

    The council serves victims in Montgomery, Autauga, Elmore, Crenshaw, Butler, and Lowndes Counties now. Last year, that included hundreds of crisis calls, 15 reports of rape each month in Montgomery County alone, male and female victims.

    In fact, even as we were at the Council, Montgomery Police Officers came to pick up equipment for another victim to be examined today. Hester says the need for the service is undeniable and the cut in money may translate to the worst for sexual assault victims: more silence.

Lindsay Hester: "If they don't have anyone to tell and we can't give them the help that we give right now, rape is going to occur and victims are going to remain silent."

    WSFA was not able to reach anyone at ADECA for comment, since today was a state holiday. The Council Against Rape will continue its mission, despite the financial crisis. Tomorrow night, they'll conduct the Sixth Annual "Take Back the Night" rally starting at 6PM at the Court Square Fountain on Dexter Avenue, travelling up to the State Capitol. It's to bring about awareness of sexual assault and pay tribute to the survivors. Call 213-1227 for more information.

  • Sexual Assault Information

    Rape is a violent and vicious crime of dominance and aggression against women, men, and children. But what do you do if it happens to you or someone you love? Find information here on this victims should know, the victim's friends should know, along with fact sheets on sexual assault, acquaintance rape, and post traumatic stress disorder in sexual assault victims. More >>
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