Funding to help domestic violence victims in jeopardy

Funding to help domestic violence victims in jeopardy

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"This act has to pass. The VAWA has to pass. We need it, federally," said Amy Dilworth, with the Knoxville Family Justice Center. "This act has to pass. The VAWA has to pass. We need it, federally," said Amy Dilworth, with the Knoxville Family Justice Center.
"They bring you in, keep you safe, help you go through goal planning and get your life back on track by staying safe," said Fawn Coats, a survivor of domestic violence. "They bring you in, keep you safe, help you go through goal planning and get your life back on track by staying safe," said Fawn Coats, a survivor of domestic violence.

BY MONA NAIR
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Help for women who are the victims of domestic violence may be in jeopardy.

Congress passed in 1994 the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). It provides money to help fund shelter and counseling for victims, but that legislation is set to expire in days.

Women's rights advocates are making their voices heard to get the act renewed.

"This act has to pass. The VAWA has to pass. We need it, federally," said Amy Dilworth, with the Knoxville Family Justice Center.

The center has helped thousands of local abuse victims. They are one of several agencies that would take a hit if Congress does not pass the laws.

"Several, several hundreds of thousands of dollars," Dilworth said, telling how much money the agency would lose.

Tennessee ranks fifth in the nation for women killed by men. In 2011, 84,000 domestic abuse cases were reported in Tennessee alone.

Fawn Coats is a survivor of domestic violence. She said she would have never been able to get out of an abusive marriage if not for the help from domestic violence agencies.

"They bring you in, keep you safe, help you go through goal planning and get your life back on track by staying safe," said Coats.

Dilworth says if victims do not get help, a larger group pays the price.

"They will be going to hospitals, they will be missing days of work. Those things will happen, and we can't turn a blind eye," she said.

Legislation to renew the Violence Against Women Act has stalled because Republicans and Democrats have different versions of how they want to spend the money.

The Senate version includes protections for same-sex marriage, immigrants and Native Americans.

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