State-level policies and funding are crucial for providing support to victim/survivors of intimate partner violence and other crimes. Lawmakers claim to support victims. Now is the time for you to follow through on these claims. We encourage you to contact your lawmakers. Ask them to support common-sense policies and provide adequate funding to crime victim services.
Domestic violence is a complex problem that interacts with many systems. Building safety isn’t as simple as a victim packing their bags and leaving an abusive relationship. Housing, childcare, transportation, employment, healthcare, and financial restraints can all be barriers for victim/survivors. We urge lawmakers to consider the impact their policies have on victim/survivors of domestic violence and other crimes.
Our priorities are as follows:
Invest $10 million in victim services: Currently, state victim services funds are limited to domestic and sexual abuse services. In addition to the funding increase, we are requesting an amendment so state funds can also support services for homicide, human trafficking, and other violent crime victims. The persistent unmet need for services, increased cost, challenges of providing services during COVID-19, and dramatic increase in homicides offer a compelling rationale for the request.
Support early lease termination: We urge lawmakers to support HSB 707. It is past time for Iowa to join the 32 states that already have such a sensible law in place. This policy would prevent eviction by enabling victims to remain in good standing with landlords. Avoiding an eviction record removes an enormous barrier to accessing stable housing in the future. Many victims of violence and abuse remain trapped in dangerous relationships because they cannot afford to pay rent for the remainder of their lease and want to avoid being evicted. Victims routinely balance the risk of staying in an abusive relationship with facing poverty and homelessness if they leave. This bill offers removes a significant barrier to seeking safety.
Enact economic policies that support victim/survivors: HSB 2329 would allow survivors to open an account with a minimal deposit. These programs would help all Iowans and would be especially helpful to survivors by allowing individuals to open an account with a minimal deposit and a no-risk opportunity to quickly build savings. Plus, having a savings account of their own opens many other financial doors to establishing credit and longer-term financial stability. Prize-linked savings programs can help survivors maintain savings, repair credit, and establish financial self-sufficiency without risk.
Preserve reproductive freedom and oppose unethical medical practices. Reproductive health services are an essential component of routine medical care for all women. Victims of gender violence have an acute need for timely access to the full range of services, including abortion care. Limiting access to reproductive services is harmful to women’s health and has a devastating impact on victim/survivors of reproductive coercion, sexual assault, and their children. When you strip women of reproductive rights, it can allow abusers access to victims and their children throughout their lives. We also oppose HF 2389. It is unethical to provide inaccurate medical information to patients.
Sharing Survivor Stories
The Community Engagement team at DVIP created a series of videos highlighting the stories of victim/survivors. Each one of these videos is an actor portrayal of the things our advocates hear every day. Names and details have been changed to protect confidentiality.
Our hope in sharing these stories is to highlight the complicated and often dangerous realities that victim/survivors and their children face.
We are grateful to the leaders and community members who participated in the video project.
We appreciate your support and advocacy on behalf of victim/survivors!