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Domestic violence programs may receive funds under new bill

The stopgap budget passed in in Illinois in 2016 may be a band-aid on what is a deeper issue, but it did not allocate any funds to domestic violence programs. This is a very dangerous situation, as often victims of domestic violence are facing life or death situations. Without the appropriate programs available, many domestic violence victims would be unable to leave their abuser, a situation no one in Illinois should be forced to be in.

However, a temporary budget bill referred to as the "Lifeline Plan" is making its way through the legislative process. The bill would allocate more than $800 million to higher education and human service agencies. The Illinois House of Representatives approved the bill, which is now heading to the Illinois Senate.

One agency that would benefit from the bill is the Sojourn Shelter in Springfield, Illinois. According to the shelter's chief executive officer, funding is essential for agencies to keep their doors open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. After all, domestic violence is no respecter of time or date. Moreover, a domestic violence situation can rapidly escalate from a mere argument to a life or death situation. While the $800 million will not fully fund every domestic violence shelter in the state, it will still help these organizations keep up with their financial needs.

It remains to be seen if the Lifeline Plan will be enacted into law. Until then, the current budget cuts will continue to have a serious effect on the services available to domestic violence victims. Fortunately, domestic violence victims can still turn to attorneys for help obtaining a restraining order or a divorce if necessary.

Source: foxillinois.com, "Lifeline Plan Would Include Funding For Domestic Violence Programs," Esther Kwon, April 7, 2017

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