CIS Hopes Budget Cap Is Raised To Provide Victims With Assistance Print
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Written by Eduardo Zamarripa   
Monday, 22 April 2013 14:52

Congressman Dave Loebsack met with Crisis Intervention Services staff members on Monday to discuss how the CIS will be affected by budget cuts and why it needs the cap to be raised on the federal funding it receives, which is referred to as "Crime Act money." Crime act money is distributed to organizations that deal with helping victims of crime.

"I'm here because I'm visiting as many of these kinds of human services organizations as I can, that have been affected in particular by the sequester and the budget cuts," Soebsack said. "This is about helping folks, in this case, who are the victims of violence, often sexual violence, and it's about doing everything we can to identify who those folks are and to get them the help that they need and to get them to a situation where they have access to the services they need and they can be productive members of our society."

The mission of CIS is to provide support and resources for individuals dealing with domestic abuse, sexual assault and other crises. The main office in Oskaloosa provides services for Lucas, Marion, Keokuk and Mahaska County. CIS has a 24-bedroom shelter and a transitional housing unit that is made up of four duplexes in order to provide housing options for victims. The center also provides 24-hour crisis response and assistance in obtaining civil protection orders among other things. CIS gets its funding from donations, fundraisers and state and federal funding.

A decrease in funds generally means that CIS can't provide enough "advocates" for victims. An advocate is a trained member who assists the victims in accompanying them to court or to something medical, such as getting a rape exam.

CIS Executive Director Nancy Robertson explained that they are hoping the Crime Act money can be raised from $800 million to $1 billion and specified that this increase does not raise taxes.

"Approximately 30 percent of our funding comes from federal funds currently. But we took a hit. Our whole budget is $500,000 basically. We had a cut last year of state and federal funds that was unexpected that was $28,500. That's enough to fund an advocate for a year," Robertson said.

The cuts from last year were prior to the sequestration, which is why CIS is predicting they will see fewer dollars this year in terms of its funding. If CIS can't afford to fund the amount of advocates they require to provide assistance, that means the center is forced to do triage, which is the is the process of determining the priority of patients' treatments based on the severity of their condition. Robertson said that is something CIS does not want to resort to.

Robertson also mentioned that victims of terrorism are included as crime victims and that, because of what happened at the Boston Marathon, this should serve as another factor to increase the cap.