Spokane Community
United States of America

For the past 13 years, Spokane has benefited greatly from having a Spokane Regional Domestic Violence Team.

This Team is made up of city and county law enforcement, prosecution, courts, probation and community agencies. Members of the team have received specialized training and developed a much-needed understanding of domestic violence dynamics and nuances, which has enabled them to make informed and life-saving decisions. The domestic violence victim advocates, who work in the team for the victims, ensure that every victim has access to support and advocacy in a safe and confidential setting.

They also provide the victims with information about the criminal process, safety planning, and referrals to additional services and assistance to meet their needs. These services have been proven to reduce the devastating effects of domestic violence on individuals and the community as a whole.

Spokane, like many other communities throughout the nation today, is facing challenges in funding services. In the name of tighter budgets, the decision was made in early 2009 to disband the Spokane Regional Domestic Violence Team effective January 2010. This would mean that domestic violence victim advocacy would be cut altogether. The cost of the advocacy program is $110,505 per year, or about two one-hundredths of one percent of the overall city budget. The elimination of this program will have long term, devastating repercussions for our community.

These changes in Spokane reflect a chilling trend that can be seen across our nation today. In California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently made the shocking and dangerous decision to eliminate 100% of funding for domestic violence programs state-wide. While one cannot help but be sympathetic to the need for budget cuts, this trend begs the question: are we going to allow these economic cutbacks to be paid for with the lives of those in our community - and the shattered lives of their families?

It is our responsibility as Spokane citizens to communicate to our elected officials what we value, and what we are willing to financially support, as a community. Our city council and county commissioners represent us and it is essential that they hear our voices. Now is the time for a coordinated community response to the epidemic of domestic violence in Spokane.

We, as concerned members of the Spokane community (and other supportive individuals), call upon our city and county elected leaders to prioritize funding for legal advocacy for victims, and to support the combined efforts of the Spokane Regional Domestic Violence Team.

The team works on behalf of domestic violence victims and for the benefit of the entire community.

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The Support Ending Domestic Violence in Spokane petition to Spokane Community was written by Patty Wheeler and is in the category Justice at GoPetition.